Colleges have mixed feelings about Governor Brown's proposed budget

Governor Brown has rolled out his final budget plan, which proposes some changes to Community College funding, and colleges are having mixed reactions.

Posted: Jan. 12, 2018 6:01 PM
Updated: Jan. 12, 2018 6:02 PM

Governor Brown has rolled out his final budget plan, which proposes some changes to Community College funding, and colleges are having mixed reactions.

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California State University leaders are disappointed with the numbers, saying the small increase just isn't going to be enough to fund some of their priorities.

Under the new plan, Governor Jerry Brown is straying away from the traditional formula, which funds colleges based on enrollment, and giving more money to schools that serve low-income students.

The California State University trustees requested an increase of about $283 million, but Brown's budget countered that proposal with about $92 million.

Chico State president Gayle Hutchinson echoes the CSU system chancellor's remarks, which called this proposal both concerning and surprising. He said it would fail to fund priorities like infrastructure costs and enrollment growth, as the university is committed to adding an additional 2,000 undergrads in the fall of 2018.

“We want to serve more students, we want to help them make progress to degree in a faster period of time, and we want to provide them with that high-quality education that they've been getting in the CSU for a really long time,” Hutchinson said.

California State University is the largest public university system in the world, and Hutchinson says the 3% increase just isn't enough today for the resources needed to continue providing that quality education.

Plus, last year when the university didn't receive the amount it needed, that resulted in a tuition increase, and that's something she says is unfortunate and does not want to see happen again.

Community colleges, on the other hand, are excited for this new plan and say it’s a great start.

“Community colleges have been woefully under-funded for quite a while, so this is in a way catch up,” said Butte College President Samia Yaqub.

She said if you look at per-student funding, they're funded below the UC’s, the CSUC’s and K-12s, so this moves Butte College that much closer to covering tuition and fees for students.

“$46 million, that is in the governor's proposal and earmarked exactly for helping community colleges that are eligible,” she said.

The funding is also based on outcomes, meaning a portion of the funds is tied to how many students are actually receiving degrees and certificates.

The budget also proposes giving about $100 million to create an online community college, but Yaqub says there are still a lot of questions about that, including who exactly that would serve.

Either way, she's hoping it would not compete with the other 114 community colleges in California.

Of course, there are still a few months until that final budget proposal gets finalized in May.

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