To browse all LAO publications, visit our Publications page.
March 1, 2017 - Presented to Senate Education Committee
February 16, 2017 - In this report, we analyze the Governor's higher education budget proposals. Our many recommendations for consideration by the legislature include: providing base increases for the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC); improving implementation of existing student support programs before expanding upon other initiatives being put forward by the administration and other segments; and asking the administration to provide certain additional information about the CCC guided pathways and CCC Chancellor’s Office staffing proposals during spring budget hearings.
January 31, 2017 - The Supplemental Report of the 2016-17 Budget Act directs our office to estimate the cost of a new state financial aid program intended to eliminate the need for students to take on college debt. We estimate such a program for resident undergraduate students attending public colleges in California would cost $3.3 billion annually, on top of all existing gift aid. Adding certain eligibility requirements to the program could reduce these costs notably. For several reasons, the new program likely would reduce but not eliminate student loan debt. Additionally, the new program could create behavioral changes not factored into our estimate.
January 19, 2017 - Chapter 22 of 2015 (SB 81, Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) requires our office to assess whether the state should construct new University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) campuses, taking a statewide perspective for UC and a regional perspective for CSU. In making our assessment, the legislation requires our office to consider a variety factors, including enrollment demand and capacity. We project university enrollment over the next eight years based on existing state policy and growth in the state's public high school graduates. In 2024-25, we project UC will enroll 11,000 more resident students (5 percent) than in 2016-17. We find the system could accommodate at least triple that amount of growth by increasing use of its existing facilities and constructing new facilities according to its already developed long-range plans. We project CSU enrollment in 11 regions across the state, with projected growth totaling 15,000 students (a 4 percent increase) in 2024-25 over 2016-17 levels. We find the system could accommodate more than 200,000 additional students by increasing use of its existing facilities and constructing new facilities according to already developed long-range plans. Given UC and every CSU region could accommodate projected enrollment through current or planned capacity, we conclude that new campuses are not warranted at this time.
January 5, 2017 - To increase capacity in its nursing programs during the nursing shortage in the late 1990's, the California State University (CSU) cited a need to increase the number of nursing faculty holding a doctoral degree (required for tenured/tenure-track positions) and expressed interest in establishing its own Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program to prepare such faculty. In response, the state enacted Chapter 416 of 2010 which temporarily allows CSU to offer an independent DNP on a pilot basis. Related legislation requires our office to evaluate the pilot program and make a recommendation regarding its extension. For a variety of reasons, we recommend the Legislature allow the CSU DNP pilot to sunset.
December 14, 2016 - During the state's last fiscal downturn, reductions to community college funding resulted in many students being unable to access taxpayer-subsidized courses. As a response, the state enacted Chapter 710 of 2013 (AB 955, Williams), which permitted select colleges to offer, on a pilot basis, fully fee-supported credit-bearing courses during winter and summer intersessions. Long Beach City College (LBCC)—the sole participant in the pilot—offered eight Chapter 710 courses in 2014, enrolling nearly 200 students. Our review finds that students who took these courses generally mirrored the broader LBCC student population. We also find that student outcomes for these courses were comparable to or better than outcomes for taxpayer-subsidized courses. Although the pilot was small, the results suggest that fully fee-supported intersession programs could serve as one viable means for colleges to maintain or expand access during tight budget times. Based on these encouraging results, we recommend the Legislature extend Chapter 710's sunset date and open up the program to any community college that meets specified criteria.
September 27, 2016 - Chapter 12 of 2009 (AB4X 12, Evans) created the California National Guard Education Assistance Award program as part of the 2009-10 budget package. The program provides financial aid to members of the California National Guard and the State Military Reserve to pay for postsecondary education. The legislation sunsets the program July 1, 2019 and requires our office to review the program prior to this sunset. Because the Military Department does not track certain data, we were unable to evaluate whether the program is helping the department retain members with critical skills or whether it is increasing the number of members enrolled in postsecondary education or increasing the units they take. Given the available data does not show that the program is effective at retaining members or increasing their skills and education, we recommend allowing it to sunset. Because the program’s ineffectiveness appears to stem in part from a lack of a clear focus, we recommend the Legislature consider as a next step developing a more thorough understanding of the Military Department’s most pressing personnel problem and identifying a new solution tailored to that specific problem. Though the evidence does not support extension of the existing version of the program, we also suggest several modifications for the Legislature to consider if it decides to continue the program.
September 22, 2016 - In this report, we provide background on the Student Success and Support Program, student equity, and other student success programs of the California Community Colleges (CCC). As background, we consider the effects of recent actions taken by the CCC Board of Governors, including setting minimum academic standards for fee waivers and establishing new policies for registration. We next discuss implementation of student success and equity programs. We conclude with an assessment of implementation to date and offer recommendations for legislative consideration.
September 8, 2016 - Presented to: Career Technical Education Legislative Staff Working Group
August 18, 2016 - In 2016-17, eight state agencies are receiving more than $6 billion in state and federal funding to administer almost 30 workforce education and training programs. Historically, state and federal laws have required service providers to report different types of outcome information even for similar workforce programs, making comparing programs and assessing the overall system's performance difficult. In addition, to collect information about program participants’ longer-term outcomes, state agencies often must share and link data with one another. Currently, the state's method for linking data is inefficient and administratively burdensome. To address these concerns, we recommend the Legislature direct the California Workforce Development Board to determine a set of common outcome measures for workforce programs and require programs to collect and report data for those measures. We also recommend the Legislature replace the state’s existing method of linking data with a streamlined, systemwide method. To increase the value of workforce data, we further recommend the board present the data in a few workforce reports each year, with the intent of informing policy makers’ policy and funding decisions and improving the overall quality of the state’s workforce system.
Correction (8/18/16): CalWORKs employment and training services funding levels corrected in Figure 1.
May 16, 2016 - Notable new higher education proposals in the May Revision include a $75 million increase for community college general purpose apportionments, a $26 million increase for two initiatives to improve California State University (CSU) graduation rates, and a $4 million increase to expand the University of California’s (UC’s) online A-G course offerings. We recommend adopting the proposal for community college apportionments in order to provide colleges with more flexible funding. We recommend rejecting the Governor’s proposals for UC and CSU, largely due to insufficient information about why the funding increases are needed. In this report, we also assess and make recommendations on various other higher education May Revision proposals.
April 7, 2016 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education
April 6, 2016 -
Chapter 620 of 2012 (AB 970, Fong) requires the University of California (UC) and the California State University (CSU) to fulfill the following three requirements related to systemwide tuition and fee increases:
As detailed below, our review found UC was not in compliance with several provisions of Chapter 620. Though the legislation deems its provisions to be required for UC, UC believes it is not legally obligated to comply because of its constitutional autonomy. We found CSU complied with all Chapter 620 provisions except for one reporting requirement.
April 5, 2016 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance