Legislative Analyst's Office
February 22, 1995

Higher Education Alternative Budget Proposals

The budget's proposals for the University of California (UC) and the California State University (CSU) are silent on key decisions, such as the level of certain student fees and enrollment levels. We have developed alternative budget proposals again this year for these agencies, and have made recommendations for the California Community Colleges (CCC) and the Student Aid Commission (SAC) to assist the Legislature in balancing the twin goals of providing student access and maintaining program quality.

For the third year in a row, the proposed budgets for the UC and the CSU are incomplete, making it difficult for the Legislature to carryout its oversight and appropriations roles. They do not completely specify proposed fee levels or schedule related financial aid. They do not specify proposed enrollment levels or include expenditures needed to protect the state's investment in infrastructure. While the administration provides a more complete budget for the CCC, it does not sufficiently hold the CCC accountable for budgeted levels of enrollment.

During consideration of the 1994-95 higher education budget, the Legislature set specific fee levels, provided financial aid to offset the fee increases, attempted to meet Master Plan enrollment goals, and provided funds for merit salary adjustments. Over the past several years, the Legislature has also expressed concern that critical needs (such as deferred maintenance) be funded and that the segments align faculty workload to provide courses needed for normal progress to degree.

Based on these recent legislative actions, and in order to assist the Legislature with its deliberations this year, we have developed proposed 1995-96 budgets for the UC and the CSU. In developing our alternative budgets, we took as a starting point the administration's total proposed funding level for higher education. In that context, and given the significant instruction-related funding needs of the segments, we propose specific fee increases, financial aid spending, and enrollment levels. We have also made specific recommendations regarding these issues in our analysis of the CCC and SAC budgets.

We discuss our recommendations for each segment in detail in our analysis of each individual agency. As shown in Figure 6, the basic goals we used in developing the proposals include:

As has been true in previous years, additional enrollment and other information will become available in the spring. Also, the amount that can be allocated to these agencies may change due to changes in the condition of the General Fund and the rest of the budget. Thus, we may suggest modifications to the plans later to reflect such updates.

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