On Monday, California Gov. Jerry Brown proposed budget cuts for 2011-2012 that would reduce funding for higher education in the state by $1.4 billion, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
The proposal would diminish money allocated for community colleges by $400 million, Cal State by $500 million and the University of California by $500 million -- making this the first time in the university's history when the bulk of funding will have to come from students ($2.8 billion, as opposed to $2.6 billion from the state).
Brown's suggestion comes as part of an overall plan to shrink California's deficit, which now stands at $25 billion.
UC President Mark Yudof wrote in an open letter that the shift towards privatization should be taken seriously by state residents. He also joined CSU Chancellor Charles Reed and community college Chancellor Jack Scott in condemning the blow to higher education, "Now is not the time to shrink public higher education, but to grow it," said the three leaders in a statement.
The three institutions are struggling to find ways to support an increasing number of students with state funds that have regressed by more than a decade. According to the Chronicle, the new levels of funding proposed will require the schools to operate on the same budget they had in 1999. This will likely cause enrollment to suffer, as CSU's student body is 70,000 people larger than it was in 1999. "We will not be able to admit as many students as we had been planning for this fall," Reed told the Chronicle.
UC schools have already begun reexamining their spending habits. UC Berkeley is rethinking its utility spending, and a representative of the UC Office of the President told UCLA's Daily Bruin that low-demand courses might be cut to accommodate the tighter budget.
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