Brown Announces More Money, Tuition Freeze in CA Budget Plan


California Governor Jerry Brown has announced that millions more dollars will be put into the University of California system than initially proposed, so long as a tuition freeze for in-state students of the 10-campus system was enacted.

Non-resident students could still see their tuition rates increase by as much as 8% on an annual basis in that time span if the UC Board of Regents authorizes the increase.

The announcement comes as part of the revised $115.3 billion budget plan, which would see $436 million over the next three years be put towards funding of the University’s pension system and a 4% base increase annually for the following four years, writes Jennifer Medina for The New York Times.

The state does not currently fund the UC system’s pension plan, although it does for California State University.  The proposed pension funding will come from a rainy day fund created for the state in Proposition 2.

To help out with the plan, the regents will place a cap on pensionable income for new employees of the University system at $117,020.

New 3-year degree programs will be created at each campus for 10 of their 15 most popular majors.  The new budget plan asks for 5% of UC students to be placed on these tracks by the summer of 2017.

In addition, the number of courses required for graduation on each campus will be reconsidered in an effort to allow students to graduate faster.

Another $25 million will be provided by the state for deferred maintenance projects, as well as $25 million for energy efficiency projects.  A bill was vetoed last year by Brown that would have provided the school system with $50 million for the deferred projects.  UCLA reported $770 million in deferred maintenance costs last year.

Despite a freeze in tuition costs, the university system announced an annual 5% increase in student services fees beginning in the 2015-16 school year in order to pay for student services, including student mental health services.  A vote in November by the regents to increase professional degree supplemental tuition by 5% beginning next year for most programs, with the exception of law schools, will remain in effect.  The law schools will see their tuition frozen until the 2018-19 school year.

Brown said he still expects a rise in tuition costs for the 2017-18 school year after six years without an increase.  According to the agreement, tuition will increase by at least the rate of inflation each year beginning that year, although no higher than 5% each year.

The regents are expected to discuss the plan at its meeting next week.  Brown will likely approve the final budget by the end of June.