Brown’s new California budget leaves fate of CSU and UC to November voters

California voters' stance on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, acccording to Field Poll.

The approval of California’s state budget last week has left the fate of state public universities’ funding in the hands of voters.

The state’s 2012-13 budget is contingent upon the passage of Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act,  this fall. If voters do not approve it, $6 billion in automatic cuts will be made to a variety of state agencies including higher education.

As is, the budget provides an extra $125 million each to the UC and CSU systems for the 2013-14 year if the universities agree to freeze tuition rates for the fall.

However, if Brown’s tax initiative gets voted down come November, so does that funding — and an additional $250 million will be cut from each system. That is on top of $750 million in cuts each will already take in the next fiscal year.

CSU Board of Trustees has already raised fall tuition 9.1 percent, its sixth tuition increase in four years.

Stephanie Thara, web communications specialist at the CSU Chancellor’s office, said if the tax initiative is approved, the difference between the fall 2011 tuition rate and the fall 2012 rate will be reimbursed to students at the end of the year.

However, said Thara, the governor’s fund will not quite cover the amount the CSU would have received from the tuition hike.

“The tuition would have given us $132 million and this only gives us $125 million so we’re still $7 million in the hole,” said Thara. “We’ll still have to consider some cuts.”

The CSU has no official stance on the budgetary decisions, as much is still dependent on November’s election.

“Nothing’s yet set in stone,” said Thara. “What we do know is that we need to reinvest in our education system, and this is one of the avenues to do it.”

As for the University of California system, the UC Board of Regents were previously discussing a 6-percent tuition hike, but UC spokesperson Dianne Klein told the Daily Californian that UC President Mark Yudof will not be recommending tuition increases at the next board meeting in July.

The budget also cuts $103 million from the Cal Grant program for the 2013-14 fiscal year by enacting increased academic performance standards and an overall reduction of private college scholarships.

However, on June 29, the California Student Aid Commission announced an $85 million contribution from the Educational Credit Management Corporation to ease the cut.

“These contributions from ECMC to the Cal Grant Program translate into over 42,000 California students having the financial resources necessary to pursue their dream of a higher education,” said the CSAC in a statement.

Brown’s tax initiative would increase sales tax to 7.5 percent for four years and will also increase income tax for people who make more than $250,000 a year for seven years.

A field poll, released on June 9, said 52 percent of voters agreed with the tax increases ,while 35 percent were opposed. The remaining 13 percent were undecided.

  • Jon Soto

    Let’s thank Gov. Brown for the DREAM act we could not afford and the robbery rates of tuition.

  • perspective2

    disparities in higher education make it impossible to keep the promise of equality
    of opportunity. University access, affordability is farther and farther out of
    reach. UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau, Provost Breslauer leave an indelible
    mark on access and affordability. Self absorbed Chancellor and arrogant Provost
    are outspoken for public Cal.
    ‘charging Californians much higher’ tuition. Number 1 ranked Harvard is now
    less costly. Cal.
    tuition is rising faster than costs at other universities. The ‘charge
    Californians higher’ tuition makes Cal.
    the most expensive public university!

    Birgeneau ($450,000 salary) Breslauer ($306,000 salary) like to blame the
    politicians, since they stopped giving them every dollar expected. The ‘charge Californians
    more’ tuition skyrocketed fees by an average 14% per year from 2006 to 2011-12
    academic years. If Birgeneau Breslauer had allowed fees to rise at the same
    rate of inflation over the past 10 years they would still be in reach of most
    middle income students. Chancellor Provost increased disparities in higher
    education defeat the promise of equality of opportunity. An unacceptable legacy
    for students, parents, politicians!