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The 2022-23 Budget: Middle Class Scholarship Program


The 2021-22 Spending Plan: Higher Education

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.


[PDF] The 2022-23 Budget: Student Financial Aid

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.


The 2022-23 California Spending Plan: Higher Education

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.


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.


The 2011-12 Budget: Higher Education Budget in Context

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.


Creating a Debt Free College Program

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.


[PDF] College Affordability

October 7, 2013 - Presented to Assembly Higher Education Committee


[PDF] Financial Aid and the State Budget

March 20, 2013 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance


[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: California Student Aid Commission

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.


The 2020-21 Budget: Cal Grant Cost Estimates

November 21, 2019 - This post describes the key factors driving recent spending increases on Cal Grants, the state’s main form of student financial aid. It also discusses our Cal Grant spending estimates through 2023-24.

In addition to this report, you can find the main California's Fiscal Outlook report along with a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.


[PDF] Financial Aid Overview-(A) Sub. 2

March 5, 2014 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance


[PDF] The 2010-11 Budget: Higher Education

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)


Streamlining State Financial Aid: Report on Cal Grant Alternative Delivery Pilot

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.