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The 2018-19 Budget: California Education Learning Lab


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The Master Plan at 50: Using Distance Education to Increase College Access and Efficiency

October 25, 2010 - While distance education is not—and is not intended to be—suitable for everyone (students as well as faculty), we find that it offers an important alternative means of providing instruction that can complement existing formats and expand options for the state’s students and segments. In order to take fuller advantage of this potential, we believe that the Legislature should guide a clearer statewide vision that specifies data which the segments should collect and report on distance–education students, and which clarifies expectations concerning intercampus collaborations and other partnerships. To that end, we make a number of recommendations.

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The 2016-17 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 26, 2016 - In this report, we provide background on three key areas of higher education in California: enrollment, tuition and financial aid, and institutional performance. We then analyze specific budget proposals for the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, Hastings College of the Law, and California Student Aid Commission, making corresponding recommendations for the Legislature's consideration.

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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.

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The 2016-17 Budget: Assessing the Governor’s Zero-Textbook-Cost Proposal

March 14, 2016 - This brief is intended to assist the Legislature in reviewing the Governor’s proposal for zero-textbook-cost degrees. We provide background on open educational resources (OER), describe California efforts to encourage their use, and highlight zero–textbook–cost degree initiatives currently underway in other states. We then describe the Governor’s proposal and provide our associated assessment and recommendations.

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The 2021-22 Budget: California Community Colleges

February 16, 2021 - This report analyzes the Governor’s major budget proposals for the community colleges, covering base apportionments, enrollment, students’ basic needs, online tools, apprenticeships and work-based learning, instructional materials, and faculty professional development.

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The 2013-14 Budget: Analysis of the Higher Education Budget

February 12, 2013 - In the 2013-14 Governor's Budget Summary, the Governor expresses major concerns about higher education in California. Most notably, the Governor is concerned about escalating higher education costs, funding models that promote neither efficiency nor effectiveness, and generally poor student outcomes. To address these issues, the Governor lays out a multiyear budget plan. The main component of the plan is large annual unallocated base increases for all three higher education segments. The Governor loosely links these base increases with an expectation the segments improve their performance. Although we believe the Governor’s budget plan has drawn attention to some notable problems, we have serious concerns with several of his specific budget proposals. By providing the segments with large unallocated increases only vaguely connected to undefined performance expectations, the Governor cedes substantial state responsibilities to the segments and takes key higher education decisions out of the Legislature’s control. We recommend the Legislature take a different approach and allocate any new funding first for the state’s highest existing education priorities, including debt service, pension costs, and paying down community college deferrals. If more funding is provided, then we recommend the Legislature link the additional funding with explicit enrollment and performance expectations.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Various CSU Proposals

March 9, 2021 - This post analyzes four of the Governor’s budget proposals for the California State University (CSU). Specifically, the post covers proposals relating to CSU Stanislaus’s off-campus center in Stockton, the Computing Talent Initiative based at CSU Monterey Bay, CSU’s ability to transfer funds among its accounts, and summer-term student financial aid.

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[PDF] Reforming the State's Transfer Process: A Progress Report on Senate Bill 1440

May 11, 2012 - In an attempt to fundamentally reform the state’s transfer of students between the California Community Colleges (CCC) and the California State University (CSU) system, the Legislature and Governor enacted Chapter 428, Statutes of 2010 (SB 1440, Padilla). The legislation requires community colleges to create two-year associate degrees for transfer. Students who earn such a degree are automatically eligible to transfer to the CSU system as an upper-division (junior) student in a bachelor’s degree program. Our review finds that since the legislation was enacted, CCC and CSU have made some progress, but additional work needs to be done by both segments to achieve SB 1440's intended goals. For their part, community colleges need to increase the number of associate degrees for transfer they make available to students. It is incumbent on CSU, meanwhile, to maximize the number of academic programs to which these degrees can be applied. Toward these ends, we recommend the Legislature provide additional guidance and clarification to CCC and CSU on their responsibilities, as well as continued oversight to track their progress.

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[PDF] California Community Colleges: Interim Evaluation of Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program

December 19, 2017 - Chapter 747 of 2014 (SB 850, Block) authorizes California Community Colleges (CCC) to offer baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degrees on a pilot basis at 15 community college districts. It also requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office to conduct an interim evaluation of the pilot program. This report fulfills that statutory requirement. In this report, we provide background on CCC’s role in California’s higher education system and describe the main components of the statewide pilot program. We then (1) describe and evaluate the selection of the pilot bachelor’s degree programs, (2) provide initial information about students participating in the pilot programs, and (3) discuss the financing of these programs. We conclude by identifying issues for the Legislature to consider as the 15 colleges continue implementing the pilot program.

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[PDF] Final Evaluation of Community College Bachelor’s Degree Pilot

January 24, 2020 - State law authorizes the California Community Colleges (CCC) to award associate degrees, generally limiting the awarding of more advanced degrees to the state’s universities. As an exception to this rule, Chapter 747 of 2014 (SB 850, Block) authorized CCC to offer bachelor’s degrees on a pilot basis at up to 15 community colleges. Chapter 747 directed our office to conduct an interim evaluation of the pilot by July 1, 2018 and a final evaluation by July 1, 2022. This report reflects our final evaluation.

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[PDF] Implementation Update: Reforming Transfer From CCC to CSU

February 2, 2015 - This report updates our 2012 progress report on transfer reform. We found that since 2012, both CCC and CSU have made substantial progress in meeting the legislation’s goals. Although some community colleges and CSU campuses are lagging in meeting specific statutory targets, both segments are making a good faith effort to comply with the legislation. Moving forward, we recommend the Legislature set specific reporting and data requirements to ensure the segments stay on track toward achieving the goals of transfer reform.

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[PDF] Analysis of the 2005-06 Budget Bill, Education Chapter

February 24, 2005 - Analysis of the 2005-06 Budget Bill, Education Chapter