New Calif. Budget Pushes for Greater Enrollment at State Universities

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The public higher education systems in California will see significant funding increases next year according to the new state budget, but only with the condition of increased in-state enrollment.

California lawmakers approved a $122.5 billion budget last June that would allocate more funds to all three of the state’s higher education institutions, with the added conditions that the University of California and California State University systems increase their California resident admissions and cap admitted non- residents.

The UC specifically will receive $3.3 billion from the state, a $125.4 million increase from the previous year. If the UC system admits 2,500 more California residents and places a cap on out-of-state enrollment, the system could receive an additional $18.5 million.

The state is giving CSUs a similar offer of a $3.3 billion base budget, an increase of $148.3 million from last year. For an extra $12.5 million, CSUs would have to see a growth of 5,194 total California residents. California community colleges also saw more funding in the new budget, which included a requirement of 50,000 more students statewide and a broader selection of course offerings.

“The university will continue to work toward fulfilling its commitments under the framework by spring 2018,” said a UC Office of the President press release. “[The UC] has an ambitious strategy in place to achieve the final component, which is related to transfer student enrollment.”

A state audit in March 2016 accused the UC of lowering admissions standards for out-of-state students, stating that the UC accepted thousands of non-resident applicants with lower grade point averages and test scores than their counterparts here in California. In response, the California Assembly passed a bill issuing a cap on the number of out-of-state students at certain UCs, restricting it to 18 percent of enrolled undergraduates in May 2017.

“We are fully aware that there needs to be the right balance,” said UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein. “If the revenue from the out-of-state enrollment goes away, we need to fill that [funding] gap somehow.”