Governor Jerry Brown has released his May budget revision for 2017-18, and with that release, we know there is more work to do to best help our students and continue to make the University of California and UCLA a beacon for what higher education can achieve.
The UC system is still seeking $9 million to enroll an additional 900 graduate students, who support undergraduate student education, conduct ground-breaking research and help fill state workforce needs. Graduate education is an important priority for the campus and the UC system.
We are also concerned by the budget’s proposal to take $4 million each from the UC and CSU’s general fund allocation in order to fund financial aid for students receiving Cal Grants attending private universities. As higher education advocates, we, of course, support financial aid for students, but we would hope this money would not have to come at the expense of our public institutions.
Leading up to the May budget revision, the UC Board of Regents approved a new policy on non-resident undergraduate enrollment, capping non-resident enrollment at 18 percent at most campuses, but 22.8 percent at UCLA (UC Berkeley, Irvine and San Diego can also stay at current levels). Non-residents are important to UCLA and other UC campuses. Non-resident student tuition helps pay for two California students, and UCLA is internationally respected and known, in part due to its robust domestic and international diversity. The system wide increase in non-resident enrollment was in response to the $1.2 billion in budget cuts to the UC budget by the state during the recession. While there have been funding increases during the last five years, the UC budget is still not at the FY 2007-08 level.
It is also worth noting that 7,400 additional California residents (including more than 750 at UCLA) were added last fall, the largest year-to-year jump since World War II, with another 2,500 on the way. UCLA will continue to serve its mission to the state while maintaining the quality of education it is known for.
President Donald Trump has introduced his proposed budget for the fiscal year. As feared, there are drastic cuts to the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and other funding agencies vital to UC researchers. The cuts proposed would have wide-ranging impacts on UCLA and California at large.
It is our hope that the Congress will again be open to maintaining or even increasing funding to science and health initiatives, as it demonstrated during this year’s budget continuation bill. All is not lost. We, as advocates, will just have a busy road ahead. And we will keep you abreast of opportunities for your own efforts as we learn more.
On campus and around Los Angeles we have kept busy as well. In May, we hosted a Joint Higher Education Dinner for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. Joining Chancellor Block were the Presidents of California State University Los Angeles, Long Beach, Dominguez Hills and the Vice President of Northridge along with the Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District. We also hosted a reception for Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu, one of five UCLA alumni on the Los Angeles City Council. Additionally, UCLA volunteered at an incredible day for our foster youth and their families.
June is an exciting time on campus, with thousands of UCLA students walking the stage to receive their diplomas, culminating years of scholarship and engagement. If you are on social media, express a note of congratulations with hashtag #UCLA2017, or just look up what others are saying on and around June 16 to be reminded of these pride-filled moments for families, communities, and California’s future.
The university expects to confer approximately 13,500 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees for the 2016-17 school year, including 7,900 earned this spring, many of whom are the first in their families to graduate from college.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support. We will need you more than ever in what promises to be a busy year for higher education advocacy. Raise Your Voice!
Keith S. Parker
Government & Community Relations
Assistant Vice Chancellor