Hearing focus on Overview of UC’s Growing Expenditures
(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance, convened the first overview hearing on the University of California’s (UC) budget. In an indication of the gravity of the task at hand, the members of the committee were joined by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) who noted the enormity of the undertaking. This hearing marks the beginning of the Assembly's zero-based budget review process. Through this approach, every line item of UC’s budget must be approved, rather than only the changes from the previous year, to foster increased transparency and public discussion of the use of taxpayer dollars.
“This is the first of many hearings to review UC’s budget and examine the system’s enrollment patterns, performance, and growing expenditures” said Assemblymember McCarty. “Our primary goal for higher education is to ensure access and affordability for our students, and to assure taxpayers and hard working families that their investment has been a wise one. As such, any fee increases that may occur, for whatever reason, are absolutely necessary and accounted for by the State of California.”
“I want to thank Assembly Budget Subcommittee Chair Kevin McCarty and the Budget Subcommittee for ensuring that the UC has the opportunity to show how efficiently it spends its money.” Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins commented. “We will have open, public hearings that are student-focused—looking at how much it really costs to educate students at UC, and how we maximize UC’s acceptance of California students. No Californian should be priced out of a UC education.”
Throughout the recession, even as state support declined, UC’s overall expenditures grew by 40%. While expenditures grew significantly, California undergraduate enrollment has only increased slightly. Between 2008 and 2012, tuition and fees at the system skyrocketed from $6,636 to $12,192 per year. At its November 2014 hearing, the University of California’s Board of Regents voted to further increase student tuition and fees by 5% per year over a 5-year period. The tuition hike – which would raise tuition and fees from the current $12,192 annually to $15,564 annually by 2019-20 – was part of the Board's overall UC budget proposal, which seeks to increase revenue by $459 million in 2015-16.