Editorial

    The latest revision to Gov. Gray Davis’ 2003-04 state budget proposal was released May 14, and to the relief of students throughout the public education system, no additional cuts for the University of California were proposed beyond those already seen back in January.

    A certain amount of gratitude should be given to Davis for not imposing a further burden on students than those in the original proposal. Those still include the $300 million in base budget cuts for the University of California as part of a plan to address a state budget deficit now estimated at $38 billion.

    Furthermore, the 40 percent of undergraduates that are grant-eligible will benefit by having the university absorb the entire amount of fee increases through financial aid. Other students from households earning between $60,000 and $90,000 per year will see a portion of the increase covered through UC Fee Grants as well.

    Over a three-year period ending next year, the enrollment at the University of California will have grown by 18 percent while simultaneously seeing a 6 percent decrease is its state-funded budget.

    Davis should be applauded for placing a priority on public education in this time of fiscal distress. Certainly the UC system plays a certain role in stimulating the state’s economic recovery, and as part of that, students saw the first tuition increase in eight years. Placing an additional request of either the students or the schools as a whole could be an overly harsh taxation.

    It is now up to the Board of Regents to support Davis’ newest proposal. In contrast to the tolerable requests made by the most recent revisions, there are currently proposals from the California state legislature that would cut the University of California’s budget by an additional $80 to $400 million beyond the governor’s January proposals. Such demands could seriously harm academic offerings from the UC system, threatening the already endangered level of education.

    Hopefully, in their deliberations — which will be taking place in June and July — the Regents will see that balanced approach that the revision offers, despite the deep cuts it imposes.

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