California Budget Plan Tops $1B for Community Colleges

January 12, 2015
California Governor Jerry Brown’s higher ed budget plan for the next year would give give a chunk of new money to community colleges. The proposal released late last week also, as expected, threaten the four-year University of California system if it goes ahead with a plan to raise tuition by up to 5 percent each of the next five years.
The biggest boon for higher ed is more than $1 billion for the 112-campus community college system. The system chancellor, Brice Harris, said the new money would allow the system to seat 45,000 more students. “Once again, the governor’s plan endorses the work we are doing to improve completion rates, close achievement gaps and make workforce training even more responsive to the needs of our economy,” Harris said. “At the same time, the governor provides a bold plan to lift more Californians out of poverty by reshaping and reinvesting in adult education programs that serve some of our neediest residents.”
About $800 million of the new money is ongoing funds and $300 million is one-time money, the chancellor’s office told a local newspaper.
Brown’s plan for the two four-year systems -- UC and the California State University system -- gives each a 4 percent increase, or about $120 million apiece. The money is  contingent on them both holding tuition flat, which they have done since 2011, although UC is now threatening to raise tuition. The budget warns UC not raise prices and also calls on UC to keep out-of-state student enrollment from rising. The system’s chancellor and board have said without more money from the state, they have to raise to raise tuition or they will choke of enrollment to Californians and admit more higher-paying out-of-state students.
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