Cuts at UC Target Administration, Other Non-Instructional Areas; Regents to Consider $135 Spring Student Fee Increase to Prevent Deeper Cuts
Facing a major state budget deficit, Gov. Gray Davis proposed mid-year spending reductions across state government today (Dec. 6), including cuts in non-instructional areas at the University of California.
The governor proposed $74 million in mid-year cuts at UC, on top of cuts already implemented this year. Areas affected include administration, libraries, K-12 outreach, Cooperative Extension and other public service programs, student services, and certain state-funded research programs.
The cuts also include a $19 million unallocated budget reduction for UC. To close this gap without reductions in instructional programs, the Board of Regents will be asked to approve a $135 increase in mandatory systemwide student fees for the spring 2003 term the university’s first such fee increase in eight years. Additional fee increases also would be assessed to professional school students in the spring 2003 term.
“These budget cuts will be painful because we have already absorbed major cuts and the university’s funding is now significantly below the minimum called for in our Partnership Agreement with the governor’s office,” said UC President Richard C. Atkinson. “But we also know that the university must play a role in the state’s budget solutions. The university’s principal priority is preserving access and quality in the instructional program, even amid budget cuts, and the governor’s proposals are consistent with that priority.
“It is with great reluctance that we are considering even a modest student fee increase. But we must look to a package of solutions if we are to ensure that students will continue to have access to the classes they need to graduate on time and will continue to receive the high-quality education they expect of UC.”
The state of California is facing a budget deficit estimated at more than $21 billion an amount equivalent to approximately one-fourth of the current state budget. The governor today proposed a total of $10.2 billion in budget actions over a two-year period to reduce the gap, including $3.4 billion in actions for the current 2002-03 fiscal year. More substantial cuts are expected when the governor releases his 2003-04 state budget proposal in January.
“I remain optimistic about the long-term economic future of California, and thus the long-term budget future of the University of California,” said Larry Hershman, UC vice president for budget. “But the short term will be very difficult, and next year we can expect even deeper cuts than those proposed today. We will be looking at a variety of options for absorbing those cuts in a way that protects our commitment to access and quality in the core instructional program.”
The governor has called a special session beginning Dec. 9 for the Legislature to consider his mid-year proposals. The Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Dec. 16 to take action on a final 2002-03 university budget that incorporates the new cuts and to consider the proposed fee increases. If the Legislature makes changes to the governor’s proposals announced today, those changes will be incorporated into the university’s budget at a later date.
New 2002-03 mid-year budget cuts
The governor’s announcement today includes the following budget cuts at the University of California, to be implemented in the current fiscal year:
Administration and libraries: A $20 million cut in general administration, academic administration, and libraries.
K-12 outreach: A $3.3 million reduction to the university’s outreach programs to K-12 schools, approximately equivalent to a 5 percent reduction.
Public service: A $2.5 million cut for UC public service programs including Cooperative Extension, which has farm, 4-H, and nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisers throughout the state. The cut is approximately equivalent to a 5 percent reduction.
Student services: A $6.3 million cut to student services, approximately equivalent to a 5 percent reduction in Registration Fee-funded programs. Campuses would have local discretion in achieving the necessary savings.
K-12 Internet: A $1.1 million reduction for the Digital California Project, which brings the next-generation Internet2 to California public schools.
Research: $18 million in one-time savings from unspent prior-year funding for targeted programs including labor research, substance abuse research, and U.S.-Mexico research.
AP online: $4 million in one-time savings from unspent prior-year funding for the UC College Preparatory Initiative, which provides online Advanced Placement coursework.
Unallocated reduction: A $19 million unspecified reduction, which the UC administration proposes to address through a $135 spring student fee increase and additional increases for professional school students.
To address the governor’s $19 million unallocated reduction for this year, the UC administration will propose to the Board of Regents that mandatory systemwide student fees be increased $135 per quarter beginning with the spring 2003 term. In addition, student fees for professional school programs (medicine, law, business, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, nursing, veterinary medicine, and theater/film/television) would increase by between $150 and $400 per quarter beginning in spring 2003 in addition to the $135 systemwide increase with the amounts varying by field.
One-third of the revenue raised by the fee increase would be sent directly to financial aid in order to mitigate the impact on lower-income students. Generally, students from families with annual incomes of $47,000 or less would not be impacted by the fee increase.