(Sacramento, CA) – In his 2024-25 budget proposal, Governor Gavin Newsom put forth a $26.9 billion General Fund investment in higher education, a funding level that continues to support California’s students in achieving their higher education goals. Despite a nearly $38 billion budget shortfall, the January proposal largely shields higher education from severe cuts, demonstrating Governor Newsom’s steadfast commitment to the success of California’s students, especially Latinx, Black, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI), and American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) students, as well as first-generation and low-income students.
“At a time when equal opportunity to higher education is being challenged nationwide due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a late FAFSA rollout, and a U.S. Supreme Court decision ending the use of race-conscious admissions practices, students are questioning their place in higher education and the value of a college degree. That’s why we thank Governor Newsom for a budget proposal that protects access and critical student success efforts, while sending a clear message that California’s future depends upon students earning their college degrees,” said Jessie Ryan, executive vice president of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “We remain hopeful that higher education stakeholders can work with policymakers to determine a course of action that delivers on the promise of Cal Grant Equity reform and opportunities to meet the growing and urgent need for student housing.”
The proposed budget maintains stability for the historic multi-year commitments with the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) with an expectation that UC and CSU will continue making progress on expanding access, closing equity gaps and increasing affordability, per the Compact language. The budget proposal also continues its commitment to funding the community college Roadmap, a shared set of funding and programmatic priorities that aim to equitably serve California’s diverse community college population. Finally, the proposed budget provides an ambitious timeline for the draft release of the Governor’s Master Plan for Career Education, which would coordinate long-term planning efforts and streamline investments in early education, K-12, higher education, and workforce development, allowing California to meet its 70 percent attainment goal.
Despite an effort to defend and maintain investments in higher education, some cuts were unavoidable. Notably, while the need for affordable student housing remains dire in higher education, this budget pauses additional student housing funding and does not fund Cal Grant equity reform which would help meet students’ total cost of attendance by providing critical financial aid to over 150,000 additional low-income Californians, the majority of whom are LatinX, Black, and Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI).
“Given the fiscal reality we find ourselves in this year, it becomes even more imperative to work towards long-term solutions to meet the goal of funding comprehensive financial aid reform – and to champion student-centered supports that make college more accessible and affordable in the months and years ahead,” said Ryan. “The Campaign stands ready to work with the Legislature and Administration to prioritize its limited resources; center investments in racial equity, protect our most vulnerable students and safeguard our future economy,” said Ryan.
Higher Education Budget Highlights
Multi-year CSU/UC/CCC Funding Commitments
- Defers five percent base funding increases to the UC and CSU, letting each system spend against their allocations ($227.8 million and $240.2 million respectively) to be reimbursed at a later date.
- Defers $31 million for increase resident student enrollment at three UC campuses.
- Provides a modest .76 percent COLA (or $747.1 million in ongoing Proposition 98 funding) for community colleges plus an additional $29.6 million in ongoing funding to support .5 percent enrollment growth.
- Utilizes nearly $500 million in reserves to ensure the Student-Centered Funding Formula is adequately supported.
- Retains funding commitments across several equity-driven priorities, including universal meals, expanded broadband access to poorly connected schools, and the equity multiplier.
- Proposes K-12 per-pupil funding at $17,653, which is nearly flat funded from the 2023-24 enacted budget.
- Utilizes reserves to prevent a Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) decrease of $1.4 billion and to fund an LCFF COLA of .76 percent.
- Increases funding for medical and nursing training and education ($62.6 million) and provides an additional $14.5 million to the UC Merced Medical School to increase the share of medical professionals trained in the Central Valley.
- Provides a $5 million increase to the Cradle to Career Data System to support the California College Guidance Initiative, bringing the total allocation to $7 million
About Campaign for College Opportunity:
The Campaign for College Opportunity is a California non-profit bipartisan policy and research organization focused on a single mission: to ensure all Californians have an equal opportunity to attend and succeed in college in order to build a vibrant workforce, economy and democracy. For more information, visit www.CollegeCampaign.org, Facebook.com/CollegeCampaign or follow @CollegeOpp.