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Assessing UC and CSU Enrollment and Capacity


The Master Plan at 50: Guaranteed Regional Access Needed for State Universities

February 14, 2011 - In this report we review how the Master Plan envisioned the California State University (CSU) as part of the state’s higher education system, and assess how the university has carried out its role in the face of changing enrollment demand and funding limitations. We conclude that CSU’s regional role is an important component of the state’s higher education system, and recommend that the Legislature take steps to protect that focus in the face of enrollment pressures and efforts by some campuses to become more selective. Specifically, we recommend that the Legislature (1) formalize a regional education role for CSU in statute, (2) codify its expectations for CSU’s eligibility pool, and (3) direct CSU to adjust its enrollment policies accordingly.


The 2016-17 Budget: Review of UC’s Merced Campus Expansion Proposal

February 10, 2016 - In November 2015, the Regents of the University of California (UC) approved a proposal to enter into a public–private partnership to double the physical size of the Merced campus. Under the plan, enrollment on the Merced campus would grow from 6,000 to 10,000 full–time equivalent (FTE) students by 2020. This brief is intended to assist the Legislature in reviewing this proposal. In it, we provide background on the Merced campus and the state process for approving capital outlay projects at UC, describe key aspects of the proposed project, and raise four key issues for the Legislature to consider.


Final EdBudget Tables (2015)

October 19, 2015 - At key times during the state’s budget cycle, we post tables containing important information about the education parts of the budget. Specifically, we post tables in January, May, and October. The January tables generally reflect the Governor’s Budget proposal, the May tables reflect the Governor’s May Revision, and the October tables reflect the final enacted budget. The tables currently highlighted are for the state’s enacted 2015-16 budget. The tables cover all areas of education, with tables on K-12 education, adult and workforce education, community colleges, universities, financial aid, child care and preschool.


[PDF] Enrollment Funding for UC and CSU

March 12, 2015 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education


Maintaining the Master Plan's Commitment to College Access

February 13, 2004 - The expressed goal in current law is that all Californians should be afforded the opportunity to receive a college education. The Master Plan for Higher Education, originally adopted by the Legislature in 1960, has served as the state's higher education roadmap. This report describes the state's admissions policies and practices, and assesses how they relate to the Master Plan. While we conclude that the Master Plan's commitment to access can be maintained even in the current fiscal environment, this will require some adjustments in current policies and practices.


[PDF] The 2015-16 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 27, 2015 - In this report, we provide an overview of the Governor’s higher education budget. We then review the segments' performance in certain key areas and assess the degree to which the segments require enrollment growth funding, base funding increases, and facilities funding. We find the segments have improved performance in some areas but additional improvement is needed. We find little to warrant additional enrollment growth at UC and CSU, and available data indicate CCC likely will not use all the growth funding provided in 2014-15. We recommend against unallocated budget increases, instead recommending that the Legislature link base increases to a cost-of-living adjustment and any additional increases to specified state priorities. We review several facility proposals and make various related recommendations, including recommending the Legislature establish state facility priorities and require the segments to submit a report describing how they plan to eliminate their maintenance backlogs.


Higher Education Admissions and Enrollment

February 18, 2004 - Although the Governor proposes no new funding for enrollment growth at UC and CSU, we find that both universities have unused enrollment funding in their base budgets that would permit them to enroll more students in 2004-05 than in the current year.


The 2020-21 Budget: Analyzing UC and CSU Cost Pressures

December 18, 2019 - California operates two public university systems: (1) the University of California (UC), consisting of 10 campuses, and (2) the California State University (CSU), consisting of 23 campuses. The Legislature faces many pressures to increase funding for UC and CSU in 2020‑21. This report examines these university cost pressures, assesses the state’s capacity to fund some of them, and identifies options for expanding budget capacity to fund additional cost pressures.


[PDF] Enrollment Funding for UC

April 21, 2015 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance


The 2023-24 Budget: University of California

February 15, 2023 - This brief analyzes the Governor’s budget proposals for the University of California. It covers the Governor’s proposals relating to core operations, enrollment, capital projects, and new transfer requirements.


Initial Review of CSU's Early Start Program

January 14, 2014 - In 2012, the California State University (CSU) launched Early Start—a program that requires freshmen who do not pass CSU’s placement exams to begin taking remedial courses during the summer before freshman year. Chapter 430, Statutes of 2012 (AB 2497, Solorio), requires our office to report on Early Start participation, demographics, and outcomes. About 27 percent of CSU freshmen participated in Early Start in 2012. A higher percentage of Latinos, blacks, women, and financially needy students enrolled in Early Start compared to all CSU freshmen. Because CSU did not provide data on Early Start outcomes, we were unable to assess whether Early Start affected the time it took for students to become college ready. Moving forward, we recommend the Legislature eliminate the remaining Early Start reporting requirements and instead focus on the reasons why remediation rates remain high. To this end, we recommend the Legislature consider authorizing a broader series of studies on: (1) the appropriateness of CSU’s placement exams and cut scores, (2) whether CSU is accepting students who fall outside its eligibility pool (the top one-third of high school graduates), (3) the rigor of college preparatory coursework in California high schools and the timing of test results that inform what classes are taken senior year, and (4) whether the state's subsidy policies encourage CSU to address high remediation rates.


The 2019-20 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 21, 2019 - In this report, we analyze the Governor's higher education budget proposals.


[PDF] Capital Outlay for Postsecondary Education

February 21, 1990 - In this analysis, we assess for each segment of postsecondary education: (1) long-range enrollment plans, (2) the potential need for new campuses, and (3) how each segment's five-year capital outlay plan addresses needs associated with enrollment growth.


[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: Analysis of the Major University Proposals

February 1, 2021 - This report analyzes the Governor’s major budget proposals for the universities, covering base funding, enrollment, students’ basic needs, faculty professional development, and deferred maintenance.