As financial markets improved, selective private colleges saw their cash and investments increase faster than their operating budgets in the 2004 fiscal year, reversing the pattern of the year before. But except at the very top tier of institutions, the colleges' debt rose even faster, as they poured money into expanding and renovating facilities, Standard & Poor's said in a report released this month.
California's Legislature overwhelmingly approved budget legislation Thursday that would lift spending on education programs to their highest level ever and generally satisfy officials of the state's three college and university systems in 2005-6. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who reached an agreement with legislative leaders on a budget deal on Tuesday, is expected to sign the measure early next week.