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University Update

University Update

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TO: All Faculty and Staff
FROM: California Community Colleges
California State University
University of California

April 28, 2008

Higher education leaders protest proposed budget cuts

Citing the potential for serious harm to the state's economy and future, the leaders of California's three segments of public higher education – the California Community Colleges, the California State University and the University of California – today (April 28) are making a rare joint visit to the state Capitol to urge policymakers to resist deep budget cuts for public higher education.

As part of CSU's annual visit to legislators, CCC Chancellor Diane Woodruff, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, and UC President Robert Dynes and UC Provost Rory Hume are urging the Governor and the Legislature to provide the necessary funding in this year's higher education budget to support greater academic opportunity for the next generation of Californians and to ensure the state's economic vitality.

"This unprecedented collaboration among our three institutions underscores the severity of the proposed cuts and their potentially devastating effects on the people of this state, now and for years to come," said Reed. "If we want California to be competitive in the global economy, then funding for higher education needs to be a top fiscal priority."

For the past few months, leaders and other members of the three systems have been engaged in a first-ever joint public education campaign aimed at helping the public and policymakers understand how important the state's investment in public higher education is to California's economy, and to Californians' short and long-term well being.

If adopted in the final state budget, among other things the proposed cuts would mean severe hardship for students: Tens of thousands of qualified students will be denied a spot in college or be unable to make progress toward a degree or certificate. The proposed budget would leave the community colleges without the resources to serve more than 50,000 students next year, and both the CSU and the UC are already overenrolled by 10,000 and 4,000 students respectively. CSU has already been forced to turn away 10,000 qualified students for the coming fall semester, and UC may not be able to increase enrollment at all the following year. Student fee increases also will be considered by the governing boards of the UC and CSU systems.

"This is not about the future of our respective institutions; it is about our state's economy and the future of California," said Woodruff. "California's public higher education systems not only create vital educational opportunities that help improve the quality of life for all Californians, they also represent the economic engine that keeps California thriving and globally competitive."

A recent study commissioned by the Campaign for College Opportunity analyzed the cumulative impact of the proposed budget cuts on the three public higher education systems and the citizens of California. Key findings included:

  • The cumulative impact of California's declining investment in higher education would diminish opportunities for students and hinder the state's ability to enroll and graduate the number of students necessary to meet the ever growing need for an educated workforce.
  • Over the next several years, California Community Colleges would need to increase class sizes, reduce course offerings, and reduce various support services to students.
  • Both CSU and UC already serve thousands more students than current funding provides; new cuts could force UC and CSU to halt their existing student enrollment at current levels, directly affecting thousands of eligible 10th, 11th, and 12th graders.
  • The proposed $57 million cut in funding for the Cal Grant financial aid program will mean that 18,500 of the poorest and most deserving community college students will not get financial aid along with several thousand CSU and UC students.
  • Even if the state's finances improve enough to allow for increases in next year's higher education budget, CSU and UC together could have to turn away over 27,000 students in the next two and a half years (the size of an entire campus) in order to allow funding to "catch up" with existing enrollment.
  • If 2% more Californians had associate's degrees and another 1% more earned bachelor's degrees, California's economy would grow by $20 billion, our state and local tax revenues would increase by $1.2 billion per year, and 174,000 new jobs would be created.

Find out more about the report.

"There is a very good reason why other U.S. states, and even foreign governments, look to California's public higher education system as a model – ours is a remarkable and truly unique system that has produced remarkable results for generations of Californians," said Hume. "The proposed budget cuts have the potential to cripple the kinds of educational, economic, scientific and technological benefits that Californians enjoy on a daily basis." Combined, the three systems play a critical role in providing educational opportunities for California's youth, and in fueling the economic and intellectual vitality of the state, including the following:

California Community Colleges

  • CCC is the state's largest workforce training provider, serving 2.6 million students and conferring over 125,000 degrees and certificates each year.
  • CCC credentials 80 percent of the state's firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians, and 70 percent of California nurses received their education at a California community college, with CCC graduating 7,700 nurses each year.
  • Community colleges enroll the state's lowest income students­full time students have an annual median income of $16,223 and one-fourth of those students have incomes of less than $5,544 per year.
  • CCC is an important support system to CSU and UC -- almost 60 percent of all CSU graduates and 30 percent of all UC graduates transfer from a California community college.

California State University

  • CSU graduates nearly 90,000 students into the state's workforce each year.
  • Overall, not including contributions from alumni, CSU supports more than 200,000 jobs in the state, and awards more than half of the college degrees in agriculture every year to help propel the state's largest industry.
  • CSU has a $13.6 billion total annual spending impact statewide, and generates more than $760 million in local and state tax revenue.
  • CSU educates more than 60 percent of the state's teachers, and graduates 45 percent of the state's computer and electronic engineers.

University of California

  • UC serves more than 220,000 students and has the highest proportion of low-income students among the country's top research universities.
  • UC contributes more than $14 billion in California economic activity and more than $4 billion in tax revenues each year, not including the impact of UC-related spinoff companies.
  • UC employs over 170,000 faculty and staff and will have a hand in creating more than 2 million California jobs this decade (2002-11).
  • UC supports the largest health sciences training program in the nation, educating 13,000 students each year and training approximately two-thirds of California's medical students; and operates the fifth-largest health care delivery system in California, handling more than 3 million patient visits each year including a high proportion of the state's uninsured patients.

More information about the proposed budgets cuts is available:

California Community Colleges

California State University

University of California