September 1, 1997
By Mike Lassiter
Director, UCOP News and Communications
Late last month, the governor signed into law a 1997-98 state budget that continues to provide University of California students with access to a quality education and freezes general student fees for the third consecutive year. It also provides state funding to make progress on restoring faculty salaries to competitive levels, to expand outreach programs to further student diversity, and to continue cooperative research with industry as a means of fueling the state's economic growth.
The budget assures for the near term the university's ability to maintain the excellence of its programs, to continue to offer a place at a UC campus to all eligible California residents seeking admission, and to provide the classes that students need to graduate in a timely fashion. The budget includes funding for a 1 percent growth in enrollment, or 1,500 additional students. It also recognizes the increasing importance of instructional technology by building upon the approximately $55 million the university already spends annually on instructional technology.
"This budget is a victory for our students and their families. We are pleased the governor and legislature made higher education a top budget priority," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson.
"The state's commitment to an affordable, accessible, and high-quality university education is vital to California's continued economic well-being," Atkinson added.
The budget fulfills the third year of the governor's four-year compact with higher education to bring fiscal stability and predictability to UC and the California State University. However, as part of the state's effort to balance its budget, UC must absorb a one-time $12 million undesignated cut in its state operating funds.
Atkinson said he will present a plan for absorbing the cut to the UC Board of Regents in September. Restoring the funding, he said, will be a top priority in developing the university's 1998-99 budget plan.
Even with the one-time cut, the state budget provides UC with a 5.9 percent, or $121.5 million increase in state general funds over last year. The total state general fund budget for the university will be $2.18 billion.
Under the budget, mandatory student fees for California residents this fall will remain at $3,799 a year for the third consecutive year. The amount does not include miscellaneous campus fees, which bring the total average fee for resident undergraduate students to $4,166 a year. Fee increases in out-of-state tuition and in selected professional programs will be implemented as previously approved.
The budget also calls for:
The budget also provides $150 million for capital improvement projects on UC's nine campuses. The funding comes from Proposition 203, the higher education bond approved by voters in March 1996. It also makes available another $21.7 million in state funds to match federal funding for earthquake repairs at the UCLA Center for Health Sciences.
Separate from the budget, the governor and the legislature have adopted legislation that will make UC eligible for more federal funding to support the clinical training of medical students and medical residents.
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