Governor and California State Legislature Approve Increased UC Funding

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Photo courtesy of Caroline Siegel-Singh.

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Governor Brown and the California State Legislature approved funding boosts for the University of California (UC) on June 8.

In May, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education approved $117.5 million in new funds for the UC system. After separate budget bills are passed by both the California Assembly and Senate, the differences in the bills are negotiated by a joint committee between the two legislative bodies and the Governor. The budget must be approved by the Governor by June 15.

Last Friday, the Governor and State Legislature agreed on $98.1 million in ongoing funding—a permanent increase to the UC’s annual budget—and $248.8 million in one-time funding for the 2018-19 school year.

The Governor’s Budget proposed a three percent increase in the General Fund (the state fund that gives lawmakers the most discretion for fund allocation) in January, which the Governor and Legislature agreed to increase in May to $92.1 million. Governor Brown approved $6.7 million for campus life and student well-being, fighting hunger, and research. However, the Governor’s Budget did not include the $25 million for student mental health services that the Senate budget had approved, a decision that drew backlash from UC students, such as “Fund the UC” campaign director Varsha Sarveshwar, a third year UC Berkeley student.

This year, 2,500 UC students, faculty, and staff members lobbied the State Legislature for increased funding in an unprecedented move. ASUCSD Vice President of External Affairs Caroline Siegel-Singh and Chancellor Pradeep Khosla were involved with the lobbying process. Siegel-Singh says around 100 UCSD students have visited the State Capitol to lobby in support since February.

“Through my position on the UC Student Association, I was able to circulate a petition that got 5,000 signatures and testimonials in January, [take] it to the Governor and members of the Legislature the day before the Regents were scheduled to vote on the tuition hike, and  [get] the Governor to release a letter telling them not to increase tuition,” Siegel-Singh said.

Ethan Coston is an Assistant News Editor for The Triton. You can follow him @Ethan4Books