Governor’s Budget Proposal Aims to Satisfy both UC and State’s Plans

On Feb. 2, the Legislative Analyst’s Office of California published an analysis and summary of Governor Newsom’s proposals for the University of California 2022–2023 budget. The proposals aim to satisfy both the UC system and state legislatures as both parties face a disconnect in how they envision growth for the UC system in regards to the state budget. 

In the past, University of California has covered operation charges by using the state fund, increases to tuition, and increasing acceptance of out-of-state students who pay an increased tuition to attend. The state sets enrollment targets and if they estimate enrollment growth, the fund provided to UC is increased. 

In the last two years however, the state has also implemented setting an “outyear target” which estimates enrollment targets for the future year. Additionally, for the past seven years, the state has changed their target to reflect only projected enrollment growth. 

The UC system sets their own enrollment targets based on recommendation from the UC Office of Regents and an analysis of the state funded budget they will receive. 

“In consultation with the UC chancellors, President Drake sets the enrollment targets for each campus [targets] are informed by input from the UC Regents, who approve UC’s operating budget, and that budget is informed by the total state-funded enrollment level for resident undergraduate students. After these enrollment targets are set, there can be year-to-year fluctuations in actual enrollment,” stated Ryan King, Associate Media Director of Relations at the UC office of The President.

In the 2021–2022 budget, the state made policies for the UC system to reduce the number of enrollment of non-residents of California. The 2020–21 plan implemented a plan to reduce the population of non-resident undergraduate students from over 21 percent in 2021–2022 to 18 percent by 2026.

However, in the past few years, non-resident enrollment had increased significantly and the state argued that this could limit access of the schools to in-state residents. 

The plan to limit enrollment is supposed to start in 2022 and the state has said that it will fund UC the loss of revenue they would incur from limiting out-of-state enrollment.

Although the state set enrollment targets, the University of California has not followed them and enrolled more than the state target for the past several years. The state has not increased the fund they provide UC to account for this over enrollment but instead used the numbers as a baseline when setting the target for the next year. 

Governor Newsom’s proposal for the 2022–2023 budget is a general fund of $99 million to be given to UC. Almost $68 million is to support the enrollment growth that is envisioned for UC and the rest is to account for the lost revenue from reducing out-of-state enrollment which would otherwise cause the UC to lose much of the revenue they bring in from out-of state residents’ increased tuition. 

The governor also proposes a multiyear enrollment plan, aimed to accommodate higher enrollment in the next few years. Per the plan, the governor’s administration suggests the UC grow their enrollment by one percent each year until 2026–2027. The administration believes that an annual growth like this would bring in an additional 8000 students each year, over a four year period.

UC has agreed with the governor’s proposals and encouraged state legislators to follow through with the proposal as it is much needed to support growth on campus.

“In order for our growth to be successful, expansion requires reliable support and sustained funding. UC believes that many of the goals laid out by the governor in his proposed budget reflect these shared priorities. This is why we are encouraging state legislators to support his proposal and help us secure the necessary funding for expanding access to California undergraduates and improving graduation outcomes for underrepresented students,” stated King. 

He added that this proposal supports the growth they intend to see in the next couple of years. The University of California, Office of the President envisions adding 20,000 students over the next decade and the amount of funding in Newsom’s proposal will allow UC to create additional housing, add additional faculty, and support the arrival of more students.

In the past, the state has not provided additional funding to the UC system due to over enrollment but the governor’s proposal plans to do so. The UCOP believes this is a necessary accommodation as in the past, the over enrollment coupled with only a baseline fund has proved difficult for operations on campus.

“Between 2014–2015 and 2020–2021, California resident enrollment grew by about 24,100 students (including summer enrollment). However, during this period the state only provided support for about 14,400 of these students… this gap in state funding strains campus resources, leaving our campuses without roughly $100 million that should be available to support these California students,” added King.

Because the state has never provided additional funding to UC to account for over enrollment, legislators do believe that the governor’s proposal could solve this issue but are weary of it as it may “incentivize UC to disregard state enrollment targets” in the future since they will be additionally funded for over enrollment. 

However, the legislative report has made it a point to note that UC is in a unique position due to the pandemic so the state may want to lean in their favor this year.

The state versus UC disconnect has affected students at UC San Diego as well. Around 8 percent of the student body of undergraduates are non-residents of California. Although the state wants UC to reduce the number of out-of-state students and UC hasn’t followed through, Rachel Dotzler, a Roger Revelle College junior at UCSD from Texas, agrees with the state.

“My doctor actually told me about this plan that the state had and insisted that I must have been exceptionally smart because I enrolled in UCSD from Texas. I think that the state’s plan will make UC’s look more competitive, reduce the acceptance rate, and only take exceptional out-of-state students which will enhance the student body of UCSD. I think UC’s should follow through with this plan,” Dotzler stated. 

Many students were unaware of the governor’s proposal but upon learning about it, were quickly in agreement. Constance Wu, a Sixth College junior, believes that the additional funding will help students on campus and provide them with many additional resources.

“I was almost unable to secure on-campus housing this year because of the limite d availability of housing but high number of incoming students. If the governor’s plan allows UCSD to improve that, then I’m all for it,” Wu stated.

Artwork courtesy of Nicholas Regli for The UCSD Guardian.