The Governor’s budget reduces funding for state financial aid programs by over $300 million. At the same time, it generally maintains or augments funding for the public colleges and universities in 2012-13; reduces budgetary controls on their spending; and commits to annual funding increases in subsequent years, contingent on their meeting undefined performance targets. Furthermore, higher education funding would be subject to “trigger cuts” if the Governor’s proposed tax increases are not approved by voters in November. This report makes a number of recommendations for legislative consideration, including alternative ways to reduce financial aid costs that would have better outcomes for students and the state. The report also urges caution in relaxing budgetary controls in higher education, and identifies alternative ways to structure trigger cuts in order to reduce uncertainty and disruption in higher education programs.