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August 24, 1998

State budget invests in UC access and outreach

By Brad Hayward
UC Office of the President

The 1998-99 state budget signed into law on Friday, August 21, by Gov. Pete Wilson makes a substantial investment of new funds in providing California students with access to an affordable, high-quality University of California education.

The budget funds the enrollment of 6,000 more UC students than were previously funded by the state and provides the resources necessary to reduce UC student fees by 5 percent for California resident undergraduates. The new spending plan also gives a major boost to UC's outreach programs to students in the public schools and is anticipated to double the amount spent by the state and university on these efforts to improve academic performance and encourage college attendance.

"This is the best budget of the decade for the University of California, and it will be welcome news to the entire university community," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson. "We are grateful to the governor and the legislature for recognizing the contributions of the university to the state's economic vitality, and for committing new resources to place a UC education within the reach of more Californians than ever before."

The budget not only meets but exceeds the provisions of the fourth and final year of the state's higher education compact, a plan to restore fiscal stability to UC and the California State University system following the drastic cutbacks of the early 1990s. Permanent General Fund support for the university will rise $270 million in 1998-99.

With the addition of $70 million in one-time funds to address critical infrastructure needs, the General Fund budget totals $2.519 billion, an increase of $340 million (15.6 percent) over 1997-98. Because a portion of this state funding increase offsets a loss of student fee revenue, however, UC's real spending from state funds and fee revenue will rise 11.4 percent in 1998-99.

UC mandatory systemwide student fees have not been raised since 1994, and under the new budget these fees will decrease 5 percent this fall to $3,609 per year for California resident undergraduates. This amount does not include miscellaneous campus fees, which bring the total average fee for resident undergraduates to $4,037 per year. Mandatory systemwide fees for California residents in graduate or professional degree programs will remain at 1997-98 levels. Tuition for out-of-state students will rise 4.5 percent, or $400, consistent with state policy tying nonresident tuition to the cost of education at UC and to the fees at comparable institutions.

The budget provides $42.6 million in new money to fund 6,000 more UC students than were funded by the state in the previous year. This increase consists of enrollment growth, already-enrolled students who had not previously been funded by the state, and an additional 800 undergraduates in engineering and computer science who will be enrolled in an effort to help address the state's workforce needs in targeted fields. (See related story)

The legislature and governor provided an additional $33.5 million in UC's budget for outreach programs to K-12 students, and the university will add $5 million, producing a $38.5 million increase. Because the budget also requires a match of K-12 money totaling $31 million, spending on UC outreach programs is anticipated to reach approximately $135 million in 1998-99, more than double the $65 million spent in 1997-98.

Under a plan developed by UC's Outreach Task Force, the university is intensifying its efforts to address inequities in K-12 educational opportunities as a means of better preparing students from all backgrounds for UC admission. The new funding will allow these services to be significantly expanded, consistent with the task force's recommendation that spending on the university's outreach programs be doubled.

"This is a major boost for programs that are a very high priority for the Board of Regents and for this administration," Atkinson said. "We are pleased that the governor and the legislature, by this budget action, have given their endorsement to the goals and implementation strategies outlined by the Outreach Task Force."

The outreach money includes $15 million to expand UC's partnerships with K-12 schools, an initiative aiming to improve long-term student performance. Another $15 million will expand UC's student-centered academic programs, such as the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program (MESA), Puente, and Early Academic Outreach, which provide tutoring, counseling, and enrichment to K-12 students. The increase in outreach funding also includes money to expand services promoting UC transfer opportunities to community college students; extend the university's outreach activities in the Central Valley; provide more informational outreach to students, families, teachers, and counselors; and evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the outreach effort.

The budget also includes:

The budget also includes $211 million for capital improvement projects on UC's nine campuses, contingent upon voter approval of a bond measure. This figure reflects an increase from the $150 million set out in the January budget proposal and will allow UC to accelerate several of its capital projects, primarily those involving seismic improvements, modernization, and infrastructure improvements. UC is working with its partners in the K-12, CSU and community college systems to encourage legislative approval of a bond measure for the November ballot.

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