California Higher Education Gets A Budget Increase in Exchange for Agreement on Equity Goals

Governor Gavin Newsom of California recently unveiled his 2022-23 state budget proposal – the California Blueprint. The budget proposes total funding of $39.6 billion for the University of California System, the California State University System, and California Community Colleges as well as the California Student Aid Commission.

The governor and the education communities have developed multi-year compacts and a roadmap that will provide sustained state investments in exchange for clear commitments from each segment to expand student access, equity, and affordability. The complete plan can be found here.

Over a five-year period, the compacts with the University of California and California State University will provide a 5 percent general fund increase for five straight years. But in order to keep the extra money flowing, the universities must expand access, equity, affordability and training for state workforce needs. The universities will be required to close equity gaps, improve time-to-degree completion, reduce students’ total cost of attendance, increase California resident undergraduate enrollment of both freshmen and transfer students, and better align curricula and student learning objectives with workforce needs.

Under the agreement, campuses of California State Univerity must close gaps in graduation rates between Pell Grant and non-Pell Grant students, as well as underrepresented minority students and non-underrepresented minority students, by 2025.

University of California campuses have until 2030 to reach this goal. But this task will be formidable. The overall four-year graduation rate for White first-year students entering in 2016 was 75 percent but it was 59.3 percent for Black students.

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