Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2023-24 budget proposal would provide California’s 4-year universities base funding increases of 5% while delaying funding for some capital projects, including building new housing.

EdSource asked observers, advocates, students and legislators to initiate the discussion with their first take on the governor’s budget for 2023-24.

Scroll down and click on the photos to read their thoughts. Also, see reactions to the governor’s early learning and K-12 education budget plans.

Evan Hawkins

Faculty Association of California Community Colleges

What should be the priorities for supporting community colleges during this economic downturn, and how well did the proposed budget meet them?

Our community colleges are currently going through transition: lower enrollment, mandates that shrink the mission of our colleges, and a shift to more online and hybrid courses. Students need additional support as our system goes through this transformation. By limiting cuts, this budget offers stable funding that will allow our colleges to invest in students at current funding levels and expand enrollment thanks to additional resources. However, initiative fatigue is burdening faculty and other practitioners. More resources are needed to assist our faculty so we can ensure each of our students get the support needed to reach their educational goals.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

Community colleges receive the lowest per-student funding, despite the fact that the system serves the most diverse and underserved student population. While faculty are, unfortunately, accustomed to doing more with less, the lack of appropriate resources or support make educating more difficult. While recognizing the fiscal realities, this budget still leaves much more work to be done on part-time faculty parity, dedicated embedded tutors, student basic needs, and faculty diversity.

Evan Hawkins is the executive director of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges.

Vincent Stewart

Children Now

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

Given our uncertain economy and potential for budget cuts, we applaud the governor for continuing his investment in public higher education by increasing the UC and CSU base budgets and providing additional funding to the community colleges to address their declining enrollment, as well as a record cost-of-living adjustment. We think these efforts will go a long way toward ensuring the segments have the necessary resources to serve current and future students. As for the delay in some funding for student housing, it’s better than the alternative, and we look forward to working with the administration to keep projects moving.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

Given the state’s revenue forecasts, we were bracing for budget cuts. The fact that base budgets were spared, there’s continued investment in student financial aid, and the expectation is that the systems will continue delivering on the goals of the compacts and roadmap is all remarkable. As we move forward in the budget process, we intend to do everything we can to preserve the proposed funding. We also want to work with all three segments to ensure essential student supports, particularly for student mental health, are maintained and we continue on the path to ensuring college affordability and student success.

Vincent Stewart is vice president for policy and programs at Children Now, a statewide policy, research and advocacy organization based in Oakland.

Gary S. May

Chancellor, University of California, Davis

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

We appreciate Governor Newsom’s continued commitment to investing in higher education, which helps us reach more California students and remain globally competitive. Affordable housing remains a concern at all UC campuses, and we know this is an area of concern shared by the state Legislature.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

We need funding for ongoing deferred maintenance in classrooms and labs that are crucial to continue the high quality of teaching and research done by our faculty and students. We look forward to further discussions about this with the state Legislature.

Gary S. May serves as chancellor at the University of California, Davis.

Eloy Ortiz Oakley

College Futures Foundation

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

The governor’s projected budget reflects this administration’s commitment to expanding opportunities and improving the lives of California’s students and their families. We are encouraged by the momentum of investments in higher education, especially the maintained promises to the Higher Education Compacts with UC and CSU and the California Community Colleges’ Roadmap for the Future, despite a projected $22.5 billion deficit. Given the state’s economic realities, this is a reasonable and responsible budget proposal that rightly prioritizes funding students first.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

In times of economic uncertainty, it is important to prioritize our most financially vulnerable students. While financial aid appears protected from cuts, the budget proposal misses an opportunity to continue growing support for these students. Over the last year, my foundation and our partners have seen and supported steps to eliminate eligibility barriers and expand Cal Grant access for community college students, yet ongoing investments are necessary if we are to see more community college students meet their academic and workforce goals. California’s economic future is largely determined by decisions we make and support we provide for diverse students today.

Eloy Ortiz Oakley is president and CEO of College Futures Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on improving college attainment and socio-economic opportunity and mobility for Californians of all backgrounds.

Robert Shireman

The Century Foundation

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

Tight state budgets typically lead to reductions in higher education. Fortunately, this budget does not follow that pattern. Maintaining support to the community colleges, even with the large decline in enrollments, is important to ensure that the capacity remains to serve young people and adults in need of job training. The delays in some initiatives are a disappointment but are understandable given the revenue projections and the competing needs.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

The Cal Grant Reform Act, adopted in last year’s budget, would better address the needs of California’s most struggling students and potential students. However, implementation of the reform is contingent on adequate funding in next year’s budget. The language in this year’s budget — that the administration is “attentive” to the plan — suggests that funding next year may not be a priority.

Robert Shireman is director of higher education excellence and a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a progressive nonprofit think tank.

Sonya Christian

Chancellor, Kern Community College District

What should be the priorities for supporting community colleges during this economic downturn, and how well did the proposed budget meet them?

Despite a projected $22.5 billion overall deficit, Governor Newsom’s budget demonstrates his commitment to higher education and the future of California. While the community college system statewide will be receiving less funding than it received last year, the Governor’s investments to advance the multiyear Roadmap for Community Colleges (CC Roadmap) are a testament to his recognition of the essential role of community colleges in a dynamic economy. Kern CCD has made significant strides in the degree and certificate completion goals of the CC Roadmap, and continued funding for the program will ensure that this work continues. The January budget does include an 8.13% cost-of-living adjustment for the Student-Centered Funding Formula and for many categorical programs at community colleges. These targeted programs and the addition of $200 million in one-time funding to support student enrollment and retention are essential for ensuring completion of a certificate or associate degree for transfer.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

The January budget proposal is a promising start to the conversation about funding for community colleges in 2023-24. We’re looking forward to discussing more funding for deferred maintenance, which would allow updates to aging building infrastructure at community colleges. We’ll also be looking to include the 8.13% cost-of-living adjustment for some restricted programs (Strong Workforce Program, Student Equity and Achievement Program, etc.) that weren’t initially in the January budget. In addition, investments in demonstration projects to build models for economic mobility systems for working adults in disinvested communities, with community colleges being the anchor institutions working with a set of partners. Overall, however, this January budget positions community colleges statewide to be able to weather the impact of a budget deficit, and the Governor’s continued support for community colleges is greatly appreciated.

Sonya Christian is the chancellor of the Kern Community College District, a three-college district serving 24,800 square miles of Kern, Tulare, Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino counties.

Jessie Ryan

The Campaign for College Opportunity

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

In 2022, Governor Newsom championed historic investments and policy changes to improve access and equity for students at California’s public colleges and universities. Amidst fiscal uncertainty, his proposed 2023-24 budget maintains these essential investments in the upcoming year. The 5% bump in base funding for the University of California and California State University comes with a clear expectation that the systems increase enrollment, strengthen transfer, improve college graduation and make college more affordable for California students.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

In light of troubling enrollment declines, we hoped to see barriers to college affordability further removed through full implementation of the Cal Grant Equity Framework (which would expand Cal Grant access to an additional 150,000 California students). However, we were expecially enouraged to see the Governor’s proposed budget prioritize community college enrollment and retention efforts with a $200 million targeted investment to support community college access and student success.

Jessie Ryan serves as executive vice president of the Campaign for College Opportunity where for nearly two decades she has led the organization’s ambitious policy and advocacy efforts to impact college access, student success, affordability and racial equity in higher education.

Jessica Sawko

California STEM Network

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

We applaud the Governor for his proposed investments in public higher education by increasing the UC and CSU base budgets and providing additional funding to the community colleges to address their declining enrollment, as well as a record cost-of-living adjustment. From community college certificate programs to Ph.D. programs, our higher education systems prepare students to meet our state’s workforce needs, which are increasingly STEM-related or require skills developed via STEM learning experiences. Maintaining or increasing investments in these systems is critical to our state’s economy.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

Our systems of higher education, which prepare the largest percentage of teachers in the state, need targeted investments in teacher preparation programs to expand and increase the capacity of programs to prepare new teachers, particularly STEM teachers. The bulk of the funding the state has invested in teacher recruitment and retention has been allocated to local education agencies. While these investments are critical, they also require teacher preparation program partners to implement high-quality programs, like teacher residency programs.

Jessica Sawko is the statewide director of the California STEM Network, which brings together partners from TK–12, higher education, business, industry, government, science and technology, community-based organizations and philanthropy to identify, scale and sustain effective STEM teaching and learning.

Erik Saucedo

California Budget & Policy Center

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

The proposal delivered on a prior commitment to provide multiyear funding investments to the CSU and UC that are meant to improve access, increase affordability and enhance career pathways, among other goals. If used toward those goals, these investments can benefit students in attaining degrees and expand their economic opportunities.

It’s unfortunate that the budget proposes to delay funding for projects aimed at supporting the urgent housing needs of students with low incomes. In the longer term, the state should ensure more funding is available to expand housing so that students don’t have to delay their education due to the high cost of rents.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

Research shows that financial stressors have greatly impacted students’ decisions to pause or cancel their educational pathways. At a time when California households with low incomes are much more likely to be struggling to meet basic needs, the state should ensure that Californians with low incomes seeking postsecondary degrees and certificates have the financial support necessary to complete their programs and provide for themselves and their households.

Erik Saucedo is a policy analyst for the California Budget & Policy Center, a nonpartisan, research and analysis nonprofit committed to advancing public policies that improve the lives of Californians who are denied opportunities to share in the state’s wealth and deserve the dignity and support to lead thriving lives in our communities.

Sbeydeh Viveros-Walton

Public Advocates

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

Housing continues to be a major cost of attending college — a barrier to completion and a major culprit of student debt. With 1 out of 5 community college students reporting housing insecurity, timely investment in student housing is critical. Despite the delay of $250 million in this year’s commitment toward the HiEd Housing Grant program and the delay of the revolving student housing loan fund, we see this as an opportunity to further improve the programs and work alongside students to ensure that approved and future projects meet the needs of our diverse student population — especially students from low-income backgrounds.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

During a year with a large deficit, we are plea sed that the governor continued commitments to multiyear initiatives and programs to ensure we move toward the 70% attainment goal. The proposed budget includes an additional $200 million to address retention and recruitment in the community colleges —which are experiencing a steep enrollment decrease, down 16%. This budget also includes a hold-harmless clause to ensure that colleges can count on steady funding. We highly recommend colleges consider using these funds to implement out-of-the-box strategies to remove barriers for previously enrolled and prospective students like forgiving institutional debt, sub-granting funds to partner with public-private promise programs and with direct-service organizations.

Sbeydeh Viveros-Walton is the founding director of higher education at Public Advocates, a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination.

Eric Premack

Charter Schools Development Center

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

With declining K-12 “feeder” enrollment, funding huge new housing projects is budgetary insanity. Many high-quality private colleges with more successful track records for serving and graduating students on time and at lower cost have excess capacity now. Some (e.g., Mills) have closed. Even if enrollments were not plummeting, many of our UC and CSU campuses seem to lack the capacity to effectively plan and execute housing projects (e.g., “Dormzilla”).

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

The Governor should propose equalizing Cal Grant and direct support funding for private colleges with strong track records and more fully tap their capacity now.

Eric Premack is executive director of the Charter Schools Development Center, a charter school leadership support and advocacy organization based in Sacramento.

Jolene Koester

Interim chancellor, California State University

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

The CSU is grateful that, in his 2023-24 January budget proposal, Governor Newsom indicated that he plans to fully fund the second year of the multiyear compact with the CSU. This will result in an increase of $227.3 million in ongoing funding in support of many of the university’s key priorities. This proposal, despite uncertainty surrounding the state’s economic circumstances, reinforces the administration’s commitment to the CSU, its belief in our mission and appreciation of our successes in transforming the lives of Californians.

Jolene Koester is the interim chancellor for the California State University, the largest system of four-year higher education in the country.

Keith Curry

President/CEO of Compton College

What should be the priorities for supporting community colleges during this economic downturn, and how well did the proposed budget meet them?

As a community college president/CEO, I was impressed with the Governor’s funding proposal for California Community Colleges. Even in a year with decreased revenues, the Governor’s commitment to higher education has not wavered. The proposed budget gives community colleges the opportunity and flexibility to address the goals outlined in the California Community Colleges Vision for Success and the RoadMap for California Community Colleges. The California Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program continues to be a nationwide model for addressing our students’ housing insecurity and homelessness. I am excited the administration is still committed to addressing student housing in California, especially at the community colleges.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

We truly appreciate the funding for retention and enrollment strategies and the potential flexibility. However, I recommend the administration and the legislators consider providing the retention and enrollment strategies funds to California Community Colleges as ongoing funding versus one-time as currently outlined in the budget. This will allow many colleges to hire permanent employees to support retention and enrollment efforts. With the June 30 deadline approaching to expend the federal American Rescue Plan funds, many colleges could utilize their retention and enrollment strategies funds for emergency aid grants to students, including their dual enrollment students. Also, as you examine the enrollment, success and retention of Black students and the impact the pandemic has had on Black and males of color, the state must provide additional funding to California Community Colleges to prioritize these students’ retention and completion by providing additional intervention and support programs. Finally, as we work toward the goals outlined in the California Community Colleges Vision for Success and the Roadmap for California Community Colleges, the state needs to provide funding and support to colleges in specific regions to address regional achievement gaps.

Keith Curry, Ed.D., is the president/CEO of Compton College, the 114th California Community College.

Clemaus Tervalon

Student Senate for California Community Colleges

What should be the priorities for supporting community colleges during this economic downturn, and how well did the proposed budget meet them?

The ongoing housing affordability crisis impacts the ability of community college students and other higher education students to start or continue their education. The SSCCC is concerned that funding delays will lead to project delays, harming students already struggling with housing insecurity.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

We will be advocating for investments in on-campus mental health funding and implementing Cal Grant reform. While the Governor’s proposal states that they “remain attentive” to Cal Grant reform, we will push to have it fully enacted.

Clemaus Tervalon is a student at College of Alameda and president of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, representing 1.8 million California community college students.

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty

Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals? 

I would like further discussion on the student housing funding delay. We know a lot of students and campuses are facing high costs and housing shortages right now, and I am concerned that delays will impact both current students, and the segments’ ability to enroll more students in the future.

The Governor’s Budget supports a significant cost-of-living adjustment, which is important. I hope to spend time this spring talking to colleges about their budgets, and particularly about enrollment declines. We need to ensure that colleges are doing everything they can to allow higher education access to all Californians. Colleges need to do better in serving older students, and they should be expanding to serve more high school students and other populations, such as the incarcerated.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

After two of the best higher education budgets in the history of the state, we knew that this budget would be different, and we would have fewer resources. Our priorities are always the same, increasing access and affordability, and we will spend this year making sure we protect the investments we have made in those areas over the last few years. Specifically, we’ll continue pursuing increased Cal Grant and Middle-Class Scholarship to make college Debt Free in California.

Kevin McCarty represents Assembly District 6. He is the Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.

Su Jin Jez

California Competes

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

The 5% increase continues a multiyear investment strategy that allows segments to plan and implement long-term strategies for advancing higher education equity and success, which is crucial during economic downturns where predictability is even more important for both institutions and Californians who need a ladder to a prosperous future. It is unfortunate that there is a delay in funding for student housing projects. Demand for student housing already outpaces supply, and in the first year of the Student Housing Grant Program, more applications were submitted than there were funds to support. Given the growing student housing crisis, where underrepresented students disproportionately experience homelessness, we hope to work with the Governor’s Office and Legislature to find other ways to balance the budget that doesn’t hinder the student housing efforts.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

In a budget-tightening landscape, it becomes imperative that invested programs are performing at the most optimal levels. This means connecting entities or programs with shared goals, streamlining processes and driving collective impact. That can only happen if there are structures in place to support better coordination among all in and related to the higher education system. While the state has made progress on fueling more integrated efforts, such as through the focus on K-16 regional collaboration and improving student transitions from community colleges to four-year institutions, further investments to support coordination can ensure California higher education dollars go further in driving a system of learning that is accessible, affordable, high quality and equitable.

Su Jin Jez is the executive director of California Competes.

State Sen. Josh Newman

Chair of the Senate Committee on Education

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

Delays to capital improvement projects on college campuses seem a responsible cost-saving measure given the state’s anticipated budget constraints. We have seen a dire need for affordable housing in college communities across the state, with tens of thousands of students struggling to find and maintain stable housing, with a significant number experiencing homelessness. I’m hopeful that our higher education institutions can manage a delay in funding without unduly jeopardizing the progress on the construction of student housing and other necessary capital projects.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

As the budget forecast becomes clearer in the coming months, I hope we continue to see a strong commitment to providing California students with expanded opportunities for career planning and development prior to graduation, across a variety of skills and industries. Preparing students for life outside the classroom is key to their success, irrespective of the educational path they choose to take.

State Sen. Josh Newman is the chair of the Senate Committee on Education and represents the 29th Senate District.

Alex Niles

UC Student Association

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

The Governor’s proposed 5% base increase is a vital and welcome affirmation of the budget compact he made with the UC last year. This funding would enable UC stakeholders and administrators to continue to make strides in closing equity gaps, ensuring affordability and increasing access to the UC, among other goals.

UC student housing is in crisis, and the lack of supply is one of the major obstacles to increasing UC enrollment in an affordable, sustainable way. The ready availability of state support for student housing projects is an essential piece of resolving this issue.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

$18 million ongoing for disabled student programs. UC’s disabled-student programs are critically underfunded and understaffed, resulting in long wait lines for students to get accommodations that can severely derail academic progress. Staffing shortages also limit the ability of DSPs to offer career mentorship, community spaces or other services that improve graduation rates and post-grad workforce outcomes. With the UC embracing ambitious enrollment growth targets, these issues are only set to get worse without funding intervention.

UCSA is part of a larger coalition pushing for funding for free menstrual products to be provided in all bathrooms in all California public schools. This would ensure all students have equitable access to basic hygiene products.

Alex Niles is the president of the UC Student Association, which represents all 230,000 UC undergraduate students to the state and federal governments and UC administration.

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi

Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

I am pleased to see that the Governor maintains his strong commitment to our higher education institutions and our students by including a 5% increase to base funding for the UC and CSU. It is disappointing to see that the budget delays funding for student affordable housing projects given that many students face housing insecurity.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

I welcome that the budget includes funding to ensure more access for California resident students at our most impacted campuses in Berkley, Los Angeles and San Diego. I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues to ensure more funding is dedicated to enrollment growth for California resident students, to ensure that more highly qualified California high school graduates get the opportunity to attend their UC campus of choice.

Al Muratsuchi is chair of the Assembly Committee on Education.

Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Los Angeles Community College District

What should be the priorities for supporting community colleges during this economic downturn, and how well did the proposed budget meet them?

Given the current state of the economy and the state’s revenue forecast, I applaud Governor Newsom for his thoughtful protection of investments and continued support for California’s community colleges. After several years of budget surpluses, this year marks a change in tone for California, given the potential revenue shortfall. While past budgets have demonstrated bold investments in key areas, this proposed state budget strives to sustain high-impact, previous investments. This prudent approach recognizes our community colleges as regional economic engines of innovation and opportunity, and the Governor’s continued commitment to community colleges and higher education will help our state’s economy recover equitably and inclusively, and grow, while preserving access and opportunity to the state’s most educationally underserved populations.

Dr. Francisco C. Rodriguez is the chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District.

Gary K. Michelson

Michelson Center for Public Policy and Michelson Philanthropies

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

The overall cost of higher education is out of reach for far too many Californians. We are deeply concerned about the escalating cost that creates barriers for Californians to attend. The burden of high tuition, coupled with the added expense of textbooks and living costs, is making it increasingly difficult for students to access higher education. We support all efforts and funding towards ending the barriers that prevent more Californians from being able to access higher education.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

The ability of students to continue their studies and maintain academic progress depends on reliable, affordable access to the internet. When the pandemic started, approximately 13% of students of color and 14% of students from lower income households in California lacked critical access. Much progress has been made thanks to Governor Newsom’s leadership. We do caution that Broadband Infrastructure deferrals will impact student access and prolong immediate academic struggle for students, threatening their long-term success.

Gary Michelson, M.D., is the founder and co-chair of Michelson Center for Public Policy and Michelson Philanthropies, a network of private foundations that creates transformative opportunities, makes positive impact investments, and fosters strategic partnerships supporting vulnerable or underserved communities.

Christopher J. Nellum

The Education Trust–West

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals? 

The Governor deserves credit for keeping his commitment to the California Community College Roadmap and compacts with the UC and CSU, despite significant budget pressures. A 5% increase in base funding will help our higher education systems navigate post-distance-learning challenges and incentivize campuses to make strides toward equity for their students.

However, the housing crisis is real for students up and down the state. We’re relieved that this line item wasn’t cut, but given the urgency of the issue, especially for student parents, we do wish that support for much-needed affordable student housing had not been delayed.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

Financial aid for college students has not kept pace with the cost of attendance — and with inflation at sky-high levels, the consequences once again hit students earning lower incomes hardest. Over the past several years, we’ve seen encouraging reforms to the Cal Grant program. Yet without a plan for full funding, they amount to a promise— but not yet progress — for students with dreams of college degrees.

Christopher J. Nellum, Ph.D., is the executive director of The Education Trust–West, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that works toward racial equity in California educational systems, from preschool through college.

Joel Vargas

Jobs for the Future

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

The 5% increase is an important signal that the state will uphold its end of the Compact in return for having our higher education systems make essential strides toward improving student outcomes. The delay in support for capital projects is disappointing because a lack of affordable housing blocks college access and success for too many students in need.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

Just as housing is an essential component of student access and success, so too are other services and resources that ensure students can meet their basic needs and are prepared for career success. The state should do more to encourage higher education institutions to invest in partnerships with community-based organizations, employers, and others in their communities to build stronger ecosystems of support for their students.

Joel Vargas is vice president, education, based in the Oakland office of Jobs for the Future.

Margaret Olmos

National Center for Youth Law

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

Students do best in classrooms and communities when they have the resources to meet their basic needs, including housing and food. California’s policymakers must remember setting youth — particularly foster youth — up for success means going beyond the cost of tuition. We know youth are experiencing some of the highest rates of homelessness and are forced to choose between pursuing higher education or paying for rent because of a lack of support. This means foster youth, Black and brown youth, and LGBTQ+ youth are blocked from the opportunities to complete their education, build careers, and be fully included in our communities.

Margaret Olmos is the director of compassionate education systems at the National Center for Youth Law, a national child advocacy organization that also focuses on advancing equity for system-impacted scholars in California.

Adam Weinberger

California School Employees Association

What should be the priorities for supporting community colleges during this economic downturn, and how well did the proposed budget meet them?

California desperately needs more affordable housing, and CSEA is deeply committed to supporting legislation that increases the supply of affordable housing, especially for classified staff, faculty and students. We are interested in strategic opportunities for building affordable housing, especially in a time of economic uncertainty.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

More attention and resources must be provided for classified employees, both in TK-12 school districts and community colleges, to receive vital training to better serve students and parents. Our members must be trained on the latest developments and best practices in their fields to expand their skills. This includes training specific to their positions, such as pedagogy, technology, health, safety and cleaning/disinfecting schools.

Adam Weinberger is the association president of the California School Employees Association, AFL-CIO, a union representing a quarter-million classified employees in our public schools, county offices of education, and community colleges.

Jan Gustafson-Corea

CABE-California Association for Bilingual Education

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU, but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

A delay in funding for affordable housing near the UC and CSU campuses is unfortunate. Many of the students who would benefit from increased affordable housing may be the first in their families to go to college. These students are diverse, like our state, and may be shut out of an opportunity for higher education due to the lack of affordable options. Many of these students are also parents struggling to make ends meet while working and juggling family responsibilities. They need additional support to ensure their success.

Were there any investments in higher ed that weren’t included in the budget proposal that you had hoped to see?

The increases to keep the higher education compacts moving forward will help to address a number of needs. It was good to see this support continue. CABE would like to see a future that includes higher direct funding to increase the number of bilingual faculty teaching in our higher educational systems, thereby expanding the number of students participating in bilingual authorization programs, which will address the systemic shortage of bilingual teachers in our TK-12 schools.

Jan Gustafson-Corea is the CEO of the California Association for Bilingual Education, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate for and support biliteracy, multicultural competency and educational equity for all students.

Jeff Freitas

California Federation of Teachers

The proposed budget includes a 5% increase in base funding to UC and CSU but there is also a delay in funding for some capital projects including affordable housing across the system. What do you think of those proposals?

Governor Newsom’s proposed budget for the University of California in 2023 will help insulate the UC’s general fund from cuts in a moment of declining revenue. But it is insufficient to meet the needs of the UC system. In the short term, it doesn’t keep up with inflation or provide sufficient revenue for the UC to cover costs. In the long term, delays in funding for student housing and for UC Merced and Riverside campus expansion will undermine the UC’s ability to expand in-state undergraduate enrollment, potentially forcing more students into larger classes and online education.

Jeff Freitas is the president of California Federation of Teachers  – A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals.

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