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The 2023-24 Budget: University of California


The 2018-19 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 15, 2018 -

In this report, we analyze the Governor’s higher education budget proposals. We begin by providing an overview of higher education in California. In the next four sections, we analyze the Governor’s budget proposals for the three public higher education segments and the California Student Aid Commission. In each of these sections, we provide relevant background, describe and assess the proposals, and make associated recommendations. The final section of the report consists of a summary of our recommendations.

In addition to this report, we have three other higher education budget briefs that analyze the Governor’s proposals for adult education, Hastings College of the Law, and the California Education Learning Lab.


[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: University Capital Outlay

March 5, 2021 - In this post, we focus on university capital outlay projects. We first provide background on university capital financing and project review. We then review capital outlay proposals for the California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC). Next, we raise some concerns with the previously authorized UC Merced medical school project and make an associated recommendation. We end the post by offering several other recommendations intended to strengthen legislative oversight of university projects.


The Master Plan at 50: Improving State Oversight of Academic Expansions

December 2, 2009 - The state’s public higher education segments periodically create new degree programs and schools, and each segment has internal procedures for reviewing and authorizing them. State law delegates the state’s oversight of proposals to the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) but their role is only advisory and limited to certain proposals. In 2007 CPEC determined that a new law school proposed for University of California (UC) Irvine was unnecessary and duplicative. The opening of the new law school this fall despite CPEC’s objections calls into question the ability of the state’s approval process to prevent unnecessary or nonpriority programs and schools. In this report, we examine a number of new programs and schools that have been approved in the last few years to determine the efficacy of the state’s approval process. We conclude that there are several structural changes that are needed to improve the approval process including (a) measuring supply and demand in major fields, (b) identifying the extent to which proposals fit with the state's priorities and resources, and (c) increasing oversight from the Legislature.

(Short video summary)


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.


[PDF] Analysis of the 2000-01 Budget Bill, Capital Outlay Chapter

February 17, 2000 - Analysis of the 2000-01 Budget Bill, Capital Outlay Chapter


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.


[PDF] 2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: Higher Education

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.


[PDF] The 2020-21 Budget: Medical Education Analysis

February 20, 2020 - In this brief, we analyze the Governor’s proposals relating to UC medical education. After providing an overview of medical education, we first analyze the Governor’s proposals to expand enrollment and build a new academic building at the UC Riverside School of Medicine. We then analyze the Governor’s proposal to expand enrollment and services at the UCSF Fresno branch campus.


[PDF] The 2023-24 Budget: Student Housing

March 9, 2023 - This brief analyzes the Governor’s proposals to delay certain funding for the Higher Education Student Housing Grant program and California Student Housing Revolving Loan program.


[PDF] Building Standards in Higher Education

January 31, 2002 - We find that three key types of building standards are not being used uniformly by the three segments of higher education. This has resulted in construction costs that are higher than necessary and possible over-statement of facilities needs. As a result, we recommend various improvements to make standards more useful to the Legislature.


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.


Addressing Capital Renewal at UC and CSU

January 5, 2023 - In this brief, we provide background on capital renewal at UC and CSU, assess the current approach to addressing capital renewal, make recommendations to better plan and budget for capital renewal, and raise other related issues for consideration.