University of California President Mark Yudof today outlined a proposed 2012-13 expenditure plan that would ask the state to contribute $2.8 billion to the university system.
The proposal will be presented to the UC Board of Regents when it meets next week at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus.
University officials said that this year, for the first time, students paid more toward their education than the state did, contributing $2.97 billion compared to the state’s $2.37 billion.
The state’s contribution this year was its lowest since the “high-water mark” of $3.2 billion that it contributed in 2007-08, according to the university.
Yudof said it is imperative that the state prioritize funding the system in order to preserve its quality.
“There’s no way to overlook the systematic disinvestment in higher education in California,” Yudof said at an early afternoon news briefing.
He said the university has been cutting the “fat” where it can, but that the cuts are taking their toll.
“We have actually been cutting it to the bone in some places,” Yudof said.
He said that if the state funds the university at the requested level, it will allow the UC system to hire more faculty and lecturers, reduce class sizes, increase course offerings and otherwise improve education quality, while averting tuition increases.
“These are reductions we’ve made the past few years that we think really need to be undone,” Yudof said.
Yudof said the state’s appropriations to the university are the same today as they were in the late 1990s, when the university had 75,000 fewer students. He called $2.8 billion the “minimal state funding we need” to preserve the system.
At next week’s meeting, regents will also discuss increasing employees’ contributions to their retirement plans, he said.
There will also be updates on the university’s efforts to boost funding through private giving, modernizing its payroll systems and other cost-saving measures.
“But over the long run we need stability on the state level,” he said.
He said all Californians should be concerned about the UC system’s future.
“It is just flat out what keeps California what it is today and what will keep it in the future,” Yudof said. “What we really need to do is to rally public support because every Californian has an enormous stake in this university.”
The Board of Regents will vote on the proposed expenditure plan next week, but won’t consider the revenue portion of the budget until a later meeting since it isn’t yet clear how much the state will contribute, university officials said.
Melissa McRobbie, Bay City News
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