I am writing to provide you with an update on the state budget for the University of California, which has been signed into law by the Governor. While State revenues fell far short of January projections, leading to a tighter than expected budget environment, we are pleased with the budget agreement the Governor and the Legislature reached. This budget provides critical new funding for important UC priorities including student outreach and support, efforts to improve diversity, increasing California enrollment, and innovation and entrepreneurship activities at our campuses.
President Barack Obama announced a $70 million federal award Monday to a nonprofit co-founded by UCLA to create a nationwide Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, with the goal of improving the efficiency of advanced manufacturing.
The institute will be headquartered in downtown Los Angeles in partnership with the city, led by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition and supported by UCLA’s leadership. It will include a national network of five regional manufacturing centers funded by $70 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and more than $70 million in matching funds from many of the institute partners.
In good news for higher education advocates, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on June 9 approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services education appropriations bill — potentially paving the way for year-round Pell Grant funding.
Receiving bipartisan support, the education appropriations bill would expand Pell Grant eligibility to low-income students attending classes year-round — often called the Summer Pell program. The change would benefit approximately 1 million students nationwide, who could see a roughly $1,650 boost to their Pell awards. This would raise the max Pell Grant award from $5,815 to $5,935.
Thank you to all of our Volunteer Advocates that joined us for our 2016 UCLA Days in Washington, D.C. Our delegation of students, alumni and staff met with members of Congress and Congressional staff regarding increased funding for Pell Grants and support for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Additionally, advocates discussed the success of the Academic Advancement Program (AAP) as a resource that has supported generations of Pell Grant recipients, first-generation college students, foster youth and other students over a 40-year period.
This is not to say that Richard Benbow III did not enjoy the cable television business — as an avid sports fan, he more than relished his roles with DirecTV and Time Warner Cable. However, it’s been hard for him not to notice the change in tenor of the conversations he has out in the public when he mentions his advocacy for UCLA.
“Higher education was something instilled in me early on and it’s something I can get behind,” he said. “When you say UCLA, people light up.”
Still, Benbow, who started his new position in UCLA Government and Community Relations as Senior Executive Director earlier this year, hasn’t minded leaving behind those questions of why someone’s cable box isn’t working right.