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Governor’s Proposed Budget Cuts $500 Million from UC Funding

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a balanced, deficit-closing 2011-12 state budget on Jan. 10 that relies on painful cuts in state services including a $500 million reduction in support for the University of California.

The 16.4 percent drop in state general fund support for UC would result in a historic shift in how California’s public research university is funded: For the first time in UC’s 143-year history, student tuition revenue will surpass what the state contributes to the university’s core operating budget.

“The crossing of this threshold transcends mere symbolism and should be profoundly disturbing to all Californians,” said UC President Mark G. Yudof, calling it a sad day for California.
Brown’s proposed state general fund budget will return UC to 1998 funding levels when the system enrolled only 161,400 students, 73,600 fewer than today’s enrollment of 235,000 students.
Brown’s proposed state general fund budget will return UC to 1998 funding levels when the system enrolled only 161,400 students, 73,600 fewer than today’s enrollment of 235,000 students. The governor proposed a $2.5 billion general fund contribution to UC while the university estimates student tuition will contribute $2.7 billion in revenue. UC’s core operating budget funds instructional costs, including faculty and staff salaries and benefits, energy expenses, campus building and lab maintenance, and financial aid. “Undeniably, the governor’s hand has been forced,” Yudof said. “He has produced, as he calls it, a tough budget for tough times, and the university will stand up and do all it can to help the state through what is a fiscal, structural and political crisis. There can be no business as usual.”


The $500 million cut to UC represents a “best case scenario,” said Patrick Lenz, UC’s vice president of budget and capital resources, and is dependent on successful passage of Brown’s tax extension package.

Yudof said he will be giving budget reduction targets to the 10 campus chancellors and the Office of the President and asking them to come back in six weeks with plans to meet those targets. His main priority, he said, is to protect as best as possible the quality of the university’s core academic and research missions. “My preference at this point, and my sense of where the Board of Regents stands on this issue, is to not seek an additional fee increase,” Yudof said. “That said, I cannot fully commit to this course until the board and I have assessed the impact of permanent reductions on campuses.”


Yudof said he hopes to protect funding for financial aid and to press forward with the systemwide initiative to save $500 million in administrative costs over the next few years. Those savings won’t be enough, he acknowledged.


“With the governor’s budget, as proposed, we will be digging deep into bone,” Yudof said.


— Donna Hemmila, External Relations Managing Editor, University of California Office of the President


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