A 3-percent loss of funding from the state of California for the 2002-03 academic year has prompted the University of California to alter its state-subsidized research curriculum, increase tuition and eliminate specific outreach programs for elementary and high school students – all to adjust to its new budget.
On July 1, the start of the 2002-03 fiscal year, UC began receiving substantially less than what is usually allocated from the state. The reduced funding will continue until June 30, 2003, the end of the fiscal year.
Gov. Gray Davis revised spending this summer to address a $24 billion deficit in California’s General Fund Budget. One of the first impacts of the budget shortfall on UC activities was a funding cut for K-12 outreach programs.
The total money spent on outreach programs was reduced by 40 percent, or $32.6 million. Funding for some of these programs was completely withdrawn or drastically reduced.
However, on July 18, the University of California Board of Regents voted to preserve the funding for specific outreach programs such as School-University Partnerships, Central Valley Outreach and the Urban Community-School Collaborative by raising the non-resident undergraduate tuition by 10 percent in Fall 2002. Additionally, in hopes of providing better health care for UC employees, non-resident undergraduate tuition was raised another 6 percent for Spring 2003.
In total, non-resident undergraduate tuition was increased 16 percent, or $1,305, for the 2002-03 academic year and non-resident graduate tuition by 4 percent, or $428.
Despite the increase, UC’s non-resident tuition is similar to that of other public universities.
“We look at four comparable institutions, Illinois, Michigan, SUNY and Virginia, and set our non-resident tuition by tuition levels of the comparable universities,” UC spokesman, Hanan Eisenman said.
UC research programs will also be cut by 10 percent, or $32 million, a loss that will affect graduate students.
“It’s going to be harder to support grad students with cut research programs,” said Regent Velma Montoya. “Research programs are often tied to grad student support. Perhaps fewer students [will be] admitted if there is less grad support.”
Potentially, however, the biggest blow to the University could occur in faculty and staff wages.
Although Davis maintained the proposed future merit wage increase of 1.5 percent for entitled faculty and staff, a comparison survey showed that overall wages are 7.5 percent below those of faculty and staff at other public institutions.
“The way it’s going, it’s going to be more challenging to hire in comparison to other universities,” Montoya said.
Problems with faculty salaries may also make it harder for the UC to increase the number of faculty on the tenure track, she said.
UCSB itself suffers from additional recruitment difficulties as the high price of housing in the area makes it harder to lure and sustain valuable faculty and staff.
Coinciding with salary issues is the University’s expanding enrollment. After receiving a large number of applications for Fall 2002, the UC appealed for increased funding. Davis allotted the University $5.4 million to enroll 7,700 additional students in the coming year.
The University’s enrollment has increased, but it has not considered the potential difficulty of hiring sufficient faculty for the expanding student body, Montoya said.
“They are supporting enrollment growth but not supporting faculty and staff salaries to keep them competitive,” she said.
Although the University has reduced support for its research programs and increased non-resident tuition, the governor protected funding loss from central instructional programs and preserved resident tuition, which has remained unchanged for the last eight years.