Sacramento has delivered yet another blow to the University of California, slashing $115 million in funding from the budget last week.
The final budget – approved by the California Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – added an additional $50 million reduction to the 2009-10 UC budget on top of the $65.5 million reduction already proposed as a mid-year cut for 2008-09. The cuts are not targeted to specific programs.
The additional $50 million reduction, however, could be overturned later this spring if the state receives sufficient funds from the federal economic recovery package.
The newly approved state budget is set to close a $42 billion budget gap by 2010 through tax increases, deep cuts in services and extensive borrowing.
As a result of the cuts, the University’s total budget damage has been elevated to a $450 million deficit. The $450 million shortfall consists of the $115 million in new cuts, $122 million in under-funded enrollments over the next two years and $213 million in unfunded costs for utilities, employee health benefits and other inflationary costs.
UC President Mark G. Yudof said he had anticipated cuts to the UC-system in light of California’s financial circumstances.
“We recognize the extraordinary fiscal challenges facing the state and are not surprised to be asked to take reductions as part of the solution,” Yudof said, in a press release. “I want to express my sincere appreciation to the governor for continuing to make UC a priority, as shown in his January budget, and in his subsequent special session budget recommendations. I also want to express my appreciation to the Legislature for avoiding even deeper cuts to the UC budget.”
According to the UC Office of the President, precisely how the budget will affect student fees for Fall 2009 has yet to be determined. The UC Board of Regents is slated to discuss the matter during its spring meeting.
Yudof said although the cuts were necessary to ensure the fiscal security of the state, he expects the new budget constraints on the University to greatly impact the UC-community.
“It is important to state clearly that the reductions contained in this budget will be felt by students, by faculty, by staff and ultimately by people across California who benefit in their daily lives from the university’s work,” Yudof said, in a press release. “Lower spending for higher education ultimately erodes student opportunity, innovation, health care and medical research and economic growth for California.”