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October 18, 1999

UC budget plan seeks funding for more students, continued quality programs

By Brad Hayward
UC Office of the President

The University of California would provide access for 6,000 additional students, strengthen undergraduate programs, and continue investing in quality instruction and research under UC President Richard C. Atkinson's 2000-01 budget proposal.

The plan, presented to the Board of Regents in San Francisco at their October 14 meeting, also proposes salary increases for faculty and staff along with increased funding for core needs such as building maintenance and instructional equipment. The budget also lays out a funding plan for the initial development of UC Merced, the university's first campus in the San Joaquin Valley.

"This is a budget that invests in access and quality," Atkinson said. "The university is committed to educating increasing numbers of students and serving the economic and social needs of the state, while preserving excellence in our instructional and research programs. This budget is a road map to those goals."

The Regents will vote on the budget proposal at their November meeting.

The 2000-01 budget plan proposes a 6.7 percent, $182 million increase in UC's state-funded budget, which would total $2.9 billion. When UC general funds and student fee income are included, the university's basic budget increase would be 7 percent, or $253 million.

The budget requests funding for enrollment growth of 4 percent, or 6,000 students in 2000-01. UC is planning for enrollment growth of at least 5,000 students per year through 2010 as the students of "Tidal Wave II" reach college age and seek admission to the university (read related article). UC is placing a high priority on expanding enrollments in engineering, computer science and teacher credentialing programs to better serve the state's workforce needs in these areas.

UC's budget proposal also seeks $6 million in new funding as the first step in a multi-year plan to strengthen the quality of undergraduate education. Campuses could use the funding to reduce class sizes, offer additional lower-division seminars, provide more undergraduate research opportunities, and offer more academic advising, among other things. UC's goal is eventually to devote $50 million annually to this effort, which is the amount needed to restore the student-faculty ratio to its historic level of 17.6 to one, from its current level of 18.7 to one.

The budget includes funding for salary adjustments, including merit increases, for faculty and staff as part of a continuing effort to maintain competitive salaries.

It also invests in UC's physical plant and educational materials by increasing funding for building maintenance, instructional technology, instructional equipment, and library materials--areas where the university has suffered from permanent budget shortfalls in recent years.

The budget plan assumes that funding equivalent to a 4.5 percent increase in mandatory systemwide student fees will be available, and that one-third of the increase will be devoted to financial aid.

Mandatory systemwide student fees would not be increased, however, if the state provided equivalent funding. The legislature and governor have provided that funding in each of the last five years, and in the last two years have provided the funding necessary to reduce fees 10 percent for resident undergraduates and 5 percent for resident graduate academic students.

Nonresident tuition would rise 4.5 percent, or $440, consistent with state policy tying nonresident charges to those at comparable universities and to the cost of instruction at UC.

The university is continuing to seek a new partnership agreement between the university and the state. Under such an agreement, similar to the successful compact of the last few years, the state would provide UC with predictable funding growth over a multi-year period, and the university would commit to accountability on specific performance measures.

Beyond its basic 2000-01 budget, the university is requesting funding for several research and public service initiatives if state resources are available. These initiatives include:

  • A $6 million augmentation for UC's outreach and K-14 academic improvement programs. This new funding would be focused on increasing community college transfers to UC, encouraging more students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds to enroll in graduate and professional school, providing professional development to middle-school and high-school algebra teachers, and expanding research into the challenges of access to higher education.

  • Development of an off-campus center in the Santa Clara Valley (read Chancellor Greenwood's message to the UCSC community). Off-campus centers are one of UC's strategies for accommodating undergraduate enrollment growth in the coming decade. This center also would be used to provide academic outreach, graduate and professional programs for working adults, and collaborative research with local industry.

  • Several research initiatives in areas of high priority for the state, including engineering and computer science, environmental science, and collaborative research with Mexican scholars on issues of mutual importance to California and Mexico.

  • Initiatives to expand the California Digital Library, which provides electronic access to UC's scholarly resources; expand Cooperative Extension programs, which provide important services to California agriculture; and enhance the access of UC faculty and students to Internet2, the next-generation, high-speed electronic highway.

A separate capital improvements budget, also presented to the Regents, includes $213 million in UC facilities projects to be funded in 2000-01 from the proceeds of voter-approved Proposition 1A. These projects will expand and upgrade academic buildings for enrollment growth, renew outdated infrastructure, and make seismic improvements.

The capital budget also contains a preliminary five-year funding plan for the first buildings to be constructed at UC Merced. In 2000-01, the budget would provide $14.3 million for initial site development and infrastructure, along with preliminary planning of the first two academic buildings--the Science and Engineering Building and the Library/Information Technology Center. The campus is slated to open in 2005.

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