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December 8, 1997

UC Regents approve 1998-99 budget proposal

UC News Office

The University of California Board of Regents has adopted a budget plan for 1998-99 that would restore faculty salaries to competitive levels, accommodate an additional 2,000 students, and continue to provide students with the classes they need to graduate in a timely fashion.

In addition, UC budget director Larry Hershman said the university will seek another $29 million from the state if funds become available for 4,000 students that UC currently enrolls but the state doesn't fund.

New initiatives in the budget to be submitted to the governor for his consideration include efforts to accelerate the university's technology investment to provide students with state-of-the-art instruction and library access and to expand research targeted to critical sectors of the economy.

The plan also calls for moving ahead with planning for a 10th UC campus, the expansion of academic programs in the San Joaquin Valley, and placing special emphasis on repairing and renovating aging buildings.

"This budget is an assessment of what we need to meet our responsibilities to California and a blueprint of our aspirations for the future," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson. "Both are reflected in the initiatives and priorities this budget proposes for next year."

Adopted by the Regents at their November 21 meeting at UCLA, the budget plan calls for a 6.3 percent increase in state funding for next year, consistent with the governor's compact with higher education. That would raise UC's state funding by $135.2 million to $2.3 billion.

In addition, under AB 1318, which was adopted by the legislature and signed by the governor earlier this year, up to $22 million in funding will be provided to UC to offset a 5 percent reduction next year in undergraduate student fees for California residents. The bill also calls for graduate and professional school student fees for California residents to be frozen for two years. Any action to increase out-of-state fees will be considered after the governor presents his state budget plan in January.

The 5 percent fee cut will reduce undergraduate student fees for California residents by $190 a year to $3,609 per year. The reduction comes on the heels of three consecutive years with no fee increase.

The combination of the proposed budget request and the funding from AB 1318 would mean an overall increase of 7 percent or $150.7 million in state support for UC next year. However, because the AB 1318 funding merely offsets a loss in student-fee revenue, the university's overall spending would increase by only 5 percent. This does not take into account any funding that might be provided for overenrollment.

As the final step in a three-year plan to restore faculty salaries to competitive levels, the proposed budget calls for a 2.5 percent equity adjustment for faculty in addition to merit increases and funding equivalent to an average 2 percent cost-of-living increase for all employees.

In regard to the technology initiative, the centerpiece of the effort is the development of the California Digital Library, which initially will develop computer links among the libraries within UC and then expand to include materials from other schools and museums, both public and private. When completed, the California Digital Library will make the vast collections of the UC campuses available over the Internet to anyone with a computer and a modem.

The university is spending $1 million on the library project this year and proposes in the 1998-99 budget to spend another $1 million and seek a matching $3 million from the state. In addition to the library project, the budget requests $4 million for instructional technology. UC now spends more than $100 million annually on technology.

"Our faculty has long been pioneers in using and developing this technology. But given the speed with which technology is evolving, additional investments are needed," Atkinson said.

The budget also calls for a $2 million increase in the Industry-University Cooperative Research program to speed the transfer of basic research into the marketplace. "We hope to replicate the success story of the biotechnology industry--born of university-based research and fueled by a constant flow of ideas and talent from UC and other leading research institutions," Atkinson said.

In keeping with the Regents' decision to seek new paths to diversity, a major effort will be made to attract more students from all backgrounds to the university. UC now spends more than $60 million annually on outreach efforts. If more state funds become available, UC will seek another $5 million for outreach beyond the base budget. Efforts are also under way to attract additional private support and matching funds from public schools.

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