Newsom’s budget offers funding increases for UC, Cal State but with big caveat

UCLA’s campus is seen on Jan. 7, 2022. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA’s campus is seen on Jan. 7, 2022. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal released Monday makes a significant pledge to the University of California and California State University: five years of annual funding increases that would deliver long-sought financial stability.

But there’s also a big caveat. The public university systems have to close achievement gaps among underserved students, a stubbornly elusive goal for years, and meet a long list of other specific targets to boost graduation rates, reduce the cost of attendance and increase California undergraduate enrollment.

The budget plan also proposes funding to increase California student enrollment this fall by 9,434 students at Cal State and 7,132 at UC — including 902 seats at UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego currently allocated to international and out-of-state students. The state would provide $31 million to those three popular campuses to cover the cost of replacing nonresident students, who each pay about $30,000 in supplemental tuition, with Californians.

The multiyear agreements Newsom unveiled with UC and Cal State would provide a 5% base general fund increase for five straight years in exchange for commitments to expand access, equity, affordability and training for state workforce needs. The list of targets is longer and more prescriptive than those in previous agreements between governors and state universities. Former Gov. Jerry Brown, for instance, focused more generally on increasing transfer students, reducing costs and shortening the time to obtain a degree.

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