Op-Ed from Our Co-Chairs: Governor’s Higher Education Funding Proposal Off to a Good Start

On Jan. 22, 2019, Fox & Hounds published an op-ed from Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine, co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education, titled, “Governor’s Higher Education Funding Proposal Off to a Good Start.” Here’s an excerpt:

Governor Gavin Newsom’s first Budget proposal has a good deal of hopeful news for higher education. Now, the devil will be in the details and in committing to ongoing funding, rather that the cyclical ups and downs that have undermined the University of California, California State University and our community colleges over the past several decades.

It is heartening that Governor Newsom has once again made higher education a State priority. The initial 2019-20 Budget proposal unveiled by the Governor includes more than a billion dollars in additional funding for the three sectors combined. This marks the most substantial higher education funding boost in more than a decade.

The University of California will receive an additional $240 million in operating funds—a 6.9% increase—plus a one-time outlay of $153 million, primarily for maintenance. CSU will receive an additional $318 million in operating funds—an 8% increase—plus a one-time allocation of $264 million. Community colleges will be getting an additional $401 million and the Governor is proposing that the State cover two-full years of free community college. This is all good news, but it is only a start. Public higher education is still recovering from years of underfunding by the State with much of the cost burden being shifted to students and their families.

The article concludes:

More State funding is critical for UC, CSU and the community colleges. It is also essential that State Budget allocations be ongoing and predictable. Too often, higher education has borne the brunt of dips in State revenue and its boom and bust fiscal rollercoaster. It has been too easy for decision-makers in Sacramento to sacrifice higher education funding whenever there is a Budget shortfall. That’s why per student State funding is still only fraction of what it was thirty years ago. Higher education fuels California’s good times and provides the essentials of productivity and innovation that enable us to reverse the bad times.

Governor Newsom deserves credit for a great start for higher education in his first Budget proposal. Now, the Governor and Legislature can roll up their sleeves to fill in the gaps and make sure that our outstanding higher education system has the resources needed for it to continue as the finest in the world.

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