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Newsom’s Budget Pledges 5 Percent Boosts to UC, CSU Systems

Despite a slight decrease in higher education funding this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom pledged budget increases for the state’s two public university systems, according to his 2023–24 budget proposal released Jan. 10.

If approved, both the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems will receive a 5 percent boost in funding, amounting to $216 million for UC and $227 million for CSU.

The increases fulfill a pledge Newsom made last year to give the systems a one-time total of $39.6 billion with five percent annual increases for the next five years if they agree to work toward improving graduation rates and enrollment rates, particularly among California residents.

This year, according to the proposal, the UC system will receive an additional $30 million as an incentive to boost enrollment among California residents.

In a press conference announcing the budget proposal, Newsom highlighted his commitment to a multi-year plan for the universities despite an overall state budget shortfall of $22.5 billion.

The budget for higher education dropped this year by 2.1 percent, from $40.3 billion last year to $39.5 billion this year.

“Despite a shortfall, we’re seeing a five percent increase in the base support of UC and CSU. We are fulfilling that commitment. We are not backing away from that,” Newsom said. “This is a partnership to advance some efforts to address with much more intensity the need to get more Californians enrolled.”

Leaders for both university systems thanked Newsom for fulfilling his pledge despite the shortfall.

“This proposal, despite uncertainty surrounding the state’s economic circumstances, reinforces the administration’s commitment to the CSU, it’s belief in our mission and appreciation of our successes in transforming the lives of Californians,” CSU Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester said in a Jan. 10 statement.

A spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on how CSU would use the money.

“Governor Newsom has put forward a budget proposal that maintains his strong commitment to the University of California and allows us to continue our important work supporting all Californians,” UC President Michael Drake said in a Jan. 10 statement. “At this time of declining state revenues, his support for the university and our students is truly extraordinary.”

Drake said the extra funding would be used to “make critical investments” that would expand enrollment and hire more faculty.

Additionally, funds will be used to continue efforts to reduce nonresident undergraduate enrollment and replace those seats with students from California at UCs Berkeley’s, San Diego’s, and Los Angeles’ campuses.

Of the 230,400 undergraduate students enrolled systemwide in Fall 2022, 83 percent were California residents, according to UC enrollment data.

Last year, UC regents launched a taskforce aiming to boost resident undergraduate enrollment by 16,000 and resident graduate enrollment by 4,000 by 2030, EdSource reported.

CSU data shows 96 percent of its 404,800 CSU students were California residents as of Fall 2022.

In terms of undergrad students graduating within four years at UC was 72 percent in 2021, with a goal to reach 76 percent by 2030, according to UC officials.
In 2022, 35 percent of CSU undergraduate students graduated in four years, according to university data.

The state’s Legislative Analyst Office will conduct an analysis of the budget before it is sent to the state legislature for hearings. After revisions in May, it is expected to be finalized June 15.

Micaela Ricaforte

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