Stay up to date with the latest news and information on California higher education. Plus, blogs that are unabashedly pro-higher education, offering what you need to know to be a passionate advocate for our colleges and universities.

California’s online community college will break new ground in higher ed

On Aug. 2, 2018, EdSource published an article titled, “California’s online community college will break new ground in higher ed.” Here’s an excerpt:

California’s online community college will represent a new vision for higher education when it launches next year and the online education field is watching to see whether it succeeds.

The new fully online college draws from a variety of sources, including public universities’ online degree programs, corporate worker training initiatives and programs at for-profit colleges. California plans to blend those existing influences to create something without precedent: A statewide, online-only public college focused on short, career-oriented certificates. …

The online college plans to begin offering courses in the fall of 2019 and is expected to cost $240 million over its first seven years, not counting funding the college will receive for each enrolled student. It will become the 115th institution in the community college system, the largest higher education system in the country. The System’s Board of Governors will meet to discuss the online college on Monday and is expected to take up a motion launching the search for the new institution’s CEO.

Proponents say the online college has the potential to reach a population of Californians who aren’t being served by any of the existing college options either in person or online.

“It is a different way of doing things,” said Lande Ajose, executive director of California Competes, which researches and advocates for strategies to increase the number of people in the state with college credentials. “The hope is that it will both satisfy some very specific and concrete labor market demand issues for individual workers, and potentially excite them about maybe going back to their local community college.”

Read the complete article on EdSource website.

UC Board of Regents approve 2018-19 budget plan with reduced tuition

On July 19, 2018, the University of California issued a press release titled, “UC Board of Regents approve 2018-19 budget plan with reduced tuition”:

The University of California Board of Regents today (July 19) approved the university’s revised 2018-19 budget plan, which reflects increases in state funding, keeps the student service fee at its current level and reduces tuition by $60.

The tuition reduction — from its current $11,502 annually to $11,442 annually — results from the end of a temporary surcharge instituted in fall 2007 to recoup damages from two earlier class-action lawsuits, Kashmiri v. Regents and Luquetta v. Regents. By fall 2018, nearly all of those costs will be fully recovered.

The student services fee will remain at $1,128 a year.

The approved regents item may be accessed here.

The class-action lawsuits, one filed in 2003 and the other in 2007, stemmed from claims made by students at UC’s professional schools that the university raised their tuition without sufficient notice. The university disagreed, but lost both cases on appeal. In total, the litigation process cost the university nearly $100 million.

UC admissions rise, with record surge in transfers

On July 11, 2018, the University of California issued a press release titled, “UC admissions rise, with record surge in transfers”:

The University of California announced today (July 11) that it has offered nearly 137,000 students a spot on at least one of its nine undergraduate campuses this fall, including more than 28,750 transfer applicants, the highest number in the history of the university.

California residents make up the vast majority of those admitted, 71,086 as freshmen and 24,568 as transfer students. Overall, this represents 1,114 more California freshmen and 1,851 more California transfers than were admitted last year. Almost all of the transfers were from the California Community Colleges.

“After reviewing yet another record-breaking number of applications, our campuses have offered admission to an exceptionally talented group of students for the upcoming academic year,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “With the benefit of a UC education, these accomplished young people from different backgrounds, with diverse beliefs and aspirations, will make California and the world a better place. We look forward to having them at the university.”

More California undergraduates are currently enrolled at UC than at any point in its history, and after last year’s enrollment jump of some 5,000 California students, the university anticipates it will have far surpassed its goal of adding an additional 10,000 Californians by the 2018-19 academic year. Total three-year growth is estimated to be an additional 15,000 California resident undergraduates.

As part of the university’s effort to effectively manage enrollment growth, this year not every campus increased its admissions offers over last year. Based on preliminary reports of students’ intention to register, however, indications are that the number of new California freshman and transfer students who will enroll at UC in the fall, what is known as “yield,” will increase by more than 3,000 over 2017.

In keeping with the recently enacted caps on nonresident enrollment at all of the campuses, 17,863 domestic and 19,069 international freshmen were also offered admission for the fall. Nonresident students typically accept UC admissions offers at a much lower rate than do Californians.

“University admissions is part science, part art and part experience,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Robin Holmes-Sullivan. “High admissions numbers don’t automatically translate to high enrollment. The data we have available today give us great confidence in predicting that our actual fall enrollment will exceed our goal. We are gratified that so many of these top-notch, motivated students are eager to attend UC.”

The preliminary admissions numbers show increases in offers to students from historically underrepresented groups and among California freshmen and transfers who would be the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college, with first-generation students comprising 46 percent of the total.

Among freshman applicants, Asian American students remained the largest ethnic group admitted at 36 percent, followed by Latinos at 33 percent, whites at 22 percent and African Americans at 5 percent. American Indians, Pacific Islanders and applicants who did not report a race or ethnicity made up the remainder of admitted students.

Admission of California Community College transfer students grew by 8 percent over fall 2017, and is in keeping with UC’s goal of enrolling one new California resident transfer student for every two new California resident freshmen.

UC’s current transfer student enrollment is at an all-time high and will likely continue to grow. UC recently announced a plan to guarantee transfers to a UC campus for students who achieve the requisite GPA and complete one of 21 “pathways,” or prerequisite classes for the most popular UC majors. These guarantees will be in place for students beginning community college in fall 2019.

This year’s proportion of transfer students who were admitted from historically underrepresented groups jumped to 38 percent. Latino students were the largest ethnic group at just under 32 percent, followed closely by white students at 31 percent and Asian Americans at 27 percent. African Americans represented 6 percent of the admitted transfer students, while American Indians and Pacific Islanders made up less than 1 percent of the admitted transfer students.

The preliminary data released today includes applicants admitted from waitlists and through the referral pool. The data tables, which include campus-specific information for both freshmen and transfers, may be accessed here.


New op-ed: Close The Higher Education Funding Gap

On June 6, 2018, Fox & Hounds published an op-ed from Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine, co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education, titled, “Close The Higher Education Funding Gap.” Here’s an excerpt:

During the past quarter century, enrollment at the University of California and California State University has increased dramatically, while State funding for the campuses has declined precipitously.  That is a formula for disaster—not only for our higher education system and for thousands of aspiring young Californians, but also for the economic health of our state.

A new publication by the California Budget and Policy Center illustrates the problem.  Since 1981-82, UC enrollment at increased by 113%, while State funding per student has declined by 51%.  During the same time period, CSU enrollment grew by 68%, even as per student State funding declined by 26%.  The results of this disconnect are clear—too many qualified California students have been turned away, we have lost top notch faculty and much of the cost burden has been shifted to students and their families in the form of higher tuition and fees.

Fortunately, there has been a growing consensus in the Capitol that this situation has got to change.  Both the State Assembly and Senate versions of the 2018-19 State Budget call for full funding of UC and CSU funding requests to enable both institutions to accommodate more students without further increasing tuition.  Hopefully, the final Budget enacted by the Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown will reflect this level of support for higher education.

Read the complete op-ed on the Fox & Hounds website.

UC helps drive California biotech; don’t disinvest

On June 5, 2018, The East Bay Times published an op-ed from a group of Bay Area biotech company executives titled, “UC helps drive California biotech; don’t disinvest.” Here’s an excerpt:

University of California research innovations have helped Bay Area biotech companies usher in breakthroughs in cancer immunotherapy, disease prevention, vaccines, precision medicine and prosthetics while generating high-paying jobs and tax revenues for the Golden State.

And so it’s little wonder that Bay Area biotech leaders – especially those of us who graduated from UC campuses – are closely watching how Gov. Jerry Brown funds California’s top-ranking research university system in the 2018-19 state budget. A lot is at stake.

While we applaud the allocation for UC’s deferred maintenance, the governor’s proposed 3 percent increase falls significantly below what is needed to keep the University of California competitive and, in turn, California’s biotech industry on the cutting edge.

Across UC campuses from Berkeley to San Francisco and from San Diego to Davis, five new inventions, on average, are developed each day. Moreover, research by UC graduate students produce a new startup every two weeks.  At UC Berkeley, our alma mater, hundreds of life sciences majors take up research positions in our firms on the outskirts of the campus. …

For the sake of future generations of UC students and the health of California’s economy, it is critical that Gov. Brown and state legislators support full funding for UC’s 2018 budget request. A 4 percent increase versus the governor’s proposed 3 percent would signal a step towards returning to the level of state support needed to sustain UC’s excellence and affordability.

As CEOs of companies on the frontline of science and medicine, we need the state to continue partnering with the University of California to produce the expert labor force that drives the biotechnology industry in our state.
We urge those who care about the state’s economic growth, and health and social mobility, to call on the governor and legislators to safeguard the University of California’s critical role in the state’s life sciences business ecosystem.

Wendye Robbins, president & CEO of Blade Therapeutics in South San Francisco, co-wrote the op-ed with fellow UC Berkeley graduates Stephen Cary, president and CEO of Omniox; Nathaniel David, co-founder and president of Unity Biotechnology; Stephen Isaacs, chairman, president and CEO of Aduro Biotech; David Kirn, CEO, co-founder and chairman of 4D Molecular Therapeutics; Gail Maderis, president and CEO of Antiva Biosciences; Adam Mendelsohn, president of Nano Precision Medical; and Terry Rosen, CEO of Arcus Biosciences.  Read the complete op-ed on The East Bay Times’ website.

You don’t need to be the head of Google to know what needs to be done about the UC

On May 31, 2018, The Sacramento Bee published an op-ed from Eric Schmidt, former executive chair of Google and a member of the UC Berkeley Board of Visitors, titled, “You don’t need to be the head of Google to know what needs to be done about the UC.” Here’s an excerpt:

While our socioeconomic well-being depends on a vibrant private sector, make no mistake, the strength of that sector is supported in profound ways by all that public higher education has to offer. And I feel that California owes it to ourselves to make sure that its institutions of higher learning remain places of immense promise and unlimited potential for students who will shape our state, and our economy, well into the future.

Today, the UC system educates about 90,000 more students than it did in the year 2000 with the same level of state funding. On a per-student basis, state support for the UC has plummeted from $19,100 per student to $7,500 in the 2016-17 academic year, even as the university has been compelled to admit a growing number of students. You don’t need to be a business executive to realize that is unsustainable.

California’s higher education system has long been one of the strongest and most accessible in the U.S. The UC is also known as a world-class incubator of discovery and innovation, generating more patents than any other university in the nation. It’s in UC’s DNA, from the very beginning. …

The investment of public funds in public universities has paid Californians back many times over. In fact, study after study shows that when it comes to public spending there is no better investment than higher education, with every dollar spent generating as much as seven dollars for the state’s coffers.

There’s a moral bottom line, as well. Budgets are moral documents – they reveal our true values. Putting more resources into higher education, sustaining what the state’s founders started, is not only an economic no-brainer – it’s the right thing to do.

Read the complete op-ed on The Sacramento Bee’s  website.

New Analyses Show Decades of Decline in Direct State Support for CSU and UC

This May, The California Budget & Policy Center published a report: “New Analyses Show Decades of Decline in Direct State Support for CSU and UC.”  Here’s an excerpt:

California’s public university systems — the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) — have seen substantial increases in enrollment since the early 1980s and currently educate a total of nearly 700,000 students. However, a pair of Data Hits from Budget Center Policy Analyst Amy Rose shows that even as their student populations have grown, direct state investment in CSU and UC has declined significantly. State funding for higher education is expected to be among the key issues for deliberation as legislators and Governor Brown work to finalize a new state budget in the coming weeks.

Read the analysis on The California Budget & Policy Center website for:




Both the State Assembly and Senate Budget Committees have voted to provide significant new funding for the University of California and California State University in the 2018-19 Budget.   The committee actions provided more than $100 million for UC above the Governor’s budget proposal and more than $200 million in additional funding for CSU.  Strong funding for California’s community colleges is also part of the emerging budget package.

“The Legislature is moving to recommit California to public higher education,” commented Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine, Co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education.  “This is a major step toward strengthening both UC and CSU and opening the doors wider to deserving young Californians.  The Administration’s budget proposal for higher education was clearly inadequate and it is gratifying that legislators on both sides of the aisle have recognized the need.”

Students, faculty, parents, alumni and community leaders have rallied to the cause of full funding for UC and CSU.  In the Legislature, Assembly Budget Chair Jose Medina and Senators Steve Glazer and Ben Allen have led the charge.

The next step in the Budget process will be adoption of Budget versions by both the Assembly and Senate and then conference committee negotiations for a final package to be approved by both houses of the Legislature.  The final Budget negotiations will involve the Governor, as well as the Legislative leadership.  The deadline for passage of the 2018-19 Budget is June 15.

New Op-Ed: Next Governor Must Step Up on Higher Education

On May 21, 2018, Fox & Hounds published an op-ed from Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine, co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education, titled, “Next Governor Must Step Up on Higher Education.” Here’s an excerpt:

State support for public higher education has had its ups and downs in the almost three decades since Governor Deukmejian left office.  Per pupil State funding is about half what it was during the Deukmejian years.  UC and CSU have taken big hits as the State experienced fiscal crises as the economy has had its ups and downs.  UC and CSU funding levels were recovering under Governor Gray Davis, until the Great Recession when the bottom fell out. A considerable portion of the revenue burden for UC and CSU has been shifted to students and their families in the form of increased tuition and fees.

While Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature have gradually increased higher education funding in recent years, this has never been this Governor’s top priority.  His latest May Revise Budget proposal falls some $200 million short of the modest requests made by UC and CSU.  Fortunately, there seems to be momentum building in the Legislature for “full funding” in the 2018-19 State Budget.

Whatever happens this year, there is need for a comprehensive approach to assure adequate, stable funding for all three pillars of California’s higher education system.  Hand to mouth funding cripples our campuses and undermines the need to provide access for tens of thousands of Californians and to produce the educated work force that drives the state’s economy.  Significant increases in tuition and fees won’t provide the answer.  The State needs to step up its commitment.

So far, in this year’s gubernatorial campaign, we have heard talk about free tuition, but no concrete plans to provide the funding needed to enable our campuses to grow and maintain top academic standards, while serving the growing pool of qualified high school graduates.  Higher education needs to be a priority in this campaign and going forward.  Californians are counting on our next Governor to provide new vision and leadership on higher education.

Read the complete op-ed on the the Fox & Hounds website.

Rally at the State Capitol calls on Governor Brown to fully fund public higher ed

On May 16, 2018, Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside) hosted a rally at the State Capitol to call on Governor Brown to fully fund the University of California and California State University systems. Watch as Assemblymember Medina, UC and CSU students, the California Labor Federation and the California Faculty Association fight for California’s universities.