February 27, 2020 - In this brief, we provide an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget for the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). We then (1) assess the Governor’s Cal Grant cost estimates, (2) analyze the Governor’s proposal to fund a student loan outreach initiative, and (3) analyze the Governor’s state operations proposals for CSAC.
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.
February 8, 2021 - This report analyzes the Governor’s major budget proposals for the California Student Aid Commission, including proposals to expand the Cal Grant program and increase financial aid application rates.
February 25, 2010 -
Though the Governor portrays his 2010-11 budget proposal as protecting education, his plan would affect areas of education quite differently—significantly reducing funding for child care and K-12 education while augmenting funding for most higher education programs. We recommend the Legislature build a more balanced education budget. For higher education, we recommend providing new funding for community colleges through a $14 per unit fee increase; reducing the proposed augmentations for the state’s universities while still restoring their per-student funding rates to 2007-08 levels; and rejecting the Governor's proposed cuts to financial aid programs. Our recommendations on other parts of the education budget are contained in a companion publication: The 2010-11 Budget: Proposition 98 and K-12 Education.
(Short video introducing this report)
March 30, 2022 - This post describes the differences between the original Middle Class Scholarship program and the revamped program scheduled to go into effect in 2022-23. It then examines the estimated impacts of the revamped program and raises associated issues for legislative consideration.
June 19, 2015 - We have provided information on the major provisions of the budget plan passed by the Legislature on Friday, June 19. (It does not reflect potential gubernatorial vetoes.) We will provide a more comprehensive summary of the budget plan in our annual California Spending Plan later this summer.
January 29, 2009 - The Governor’s budget proposal includes $11.5 billion in General Fund support as well as $5.7 billion in other core funding for higher education in 2009-10. The proposed budget would increase university fees by almost $300 million while it would reduce state financial aid programs by $88 million. It also could reduce higher education enrollment by tens of thousands of students. We offer alternatives that would increase funding for state financial aid programs, increase enrollment targets well above the Governor's levels, and better account for student fee revenue.
February 12, 2014 - This report analyzes the Governor’s 2014-15 higher education budget. We continue to have serious concerns with the Governor’s approach to funding the universities, particularly as it significantly diminishes the Legislature’s role in key budget decisions and allows the universities to pursue segmental over state interests. We recommend the Legislature take an alternative approach that: (1) designates funding for specific purposes (including enrollment at the California State University and debt-service payments), (2) shares cost increases among the state and students, and (3) monitors the universities’ performance in specific areas (such as student success). We think the Governor’s approach to funding the community colleges is much better but recommend various ways for the Legislature to refine specific community college proposals. Most notably, rather than augmenting a single student support categorical program by $200 million, we recommend the Legislature consolidate seven student support programs into a block grant, thereby offering colleges considerably more flexibility in deciding the best ways to support their students.
February 18, 2022 - This brief analyzes the Governor’s budget proposals related to student financial aid at the California Student Aid Commission, the Scholarshare Investment Board, and the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
January 19, 2011 - The Governor’s proposed 2011-12 budget includes sizable General Fund reductions for the state’s university systems and the community colleges totaling about $1.4 billion. While the administration does not provide many specific proposals as to how those reductions would be accommodated, they could affect access to higher education programs, the price paid by students, average class size, and the availability of various related services, among other things. The budget assumes fee and tuition increases at all three public segments. At the same time, the Governor’s budget would fully fund financial aid programs, thus helping to ensure that cost does not prevent enrollment by financially needy students. The budget also includes General Fund augmentations to backfill one-time federal funds received by the universities in 2010-11, pay for increased retirement costs, and cover other workload adjustments.
December 5, 2011 - Legislation in 2009 authorized a pilot program whereby college and university campuses could voluntarily administer certain Cal Grant programs that are normally administered centrally by the Student Aid Commission (CSAC). The CSAC developed regulations for the pilot in time for the 2010-11 academic year. No campuses volunteered to participate, however, due to cumbersome program requirements. This report provides background on the existing delivery model for financial aid programs; describes recent proposals for alternative delivery models; and chronicles the development, implementation, and outcomes of the pilot program. The report concludes with our recommendation, drawing on numerous studies over the last two decades, to decentralize Cal Grants through a process that includes a planning period but no pilot phase.
October 11, 2021 - This budget post summarizes the state’s 2021‑22 spending package for higher education. It is part of our Spending Plan series. In this post, we cover spending for the California Community Colleges (CCC), California State University (CSU), University of California (UC), student financial aid, California State Library, and certain initiatives that crosscut the education segments.
Correction (6/10/22): Totals for on-going and one-time UC core funding have been corrected.
October 4, 2022 - This post summarizes the state’s 2022-23 spending package for higher education. It is part of our Spending Plan series. In this post, we provide a short overview of the state’s higher education spending package, then cover spending for the California Community Colleges (CCC), California State University (CSU), University of California (UC), student financial aid, student housing, and California State Library.
April 30, 2019 - In this report, we evaluate the Cal Grant C program, as required by statute, and make a recommendation regarding whether the state should maintain it.