“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, March 17, 2011

UC Statement on Budget Crisis

  • The multi-year budget gap estimated for UC is large -- and we will face stark choices if the situation does not improve.

    This year, the state of California is seeking a $500 million budget cut from UC -- but additional unfunded cost increases mean our true budget challenge is nearly $900 million.

    If the trend continues -- certain costs rise, but revenue stays flat -- our problem grows substantially. Even if we make aggressive assumptions about maximizing efficiencies and improving revenue from philanthropy, nonresident tuition, and other alternative funding sources, we still estimate that within four years UC will face a $1.5 billion shortfall in its $6 billion operating budget.

    That gap will mean serious, fundamental choices about the quality of education UC is able to provide, the levels of tuition and financial aid the University can afford to offer students and parents, and the level of accessibility UC can provide to the students of California.

  • We're working hard to achieve savings and efficiencies across the system.

    We've committed to achieving $500 million in administrative efficiencies over the next five years. We've already reduced spending on travel, expanded shared purchasing and strategic energy savings programs, cut spending at the systemwide office, deferred spending on equipment purchases, and much more.

    In addition, over the last four years the UC campuses have laid off more than 4,400 people, left more than 3,700 positions unfilled, and cut academic and administrative units between 6 percent and 35 percent. Every effort has been made to reduce the impact of these cuts on academic programs, but our campuses have been forced to cut course offerings, eliminate majors, increase undergraduate class sizes and reduce library hours. More reductions are in store if our funding commitment from the state does not change.

  • Here's where you come in: UC's mission depends upon achieving stable funding.

    California is competing with the top 10 economies in the world and needs an educated and technically knowledgeable work force. Investment in higher education enhances our competitiveness and also generates new revenue for the state general fund to bolster California's long-term fiscal health. No other state investment can claim the kind of return that UC provides for California taxpayers. Our economy, health, and quality of life depend upon the continued contributions of a vibrant and effective public research university.

    But to preserve our mission, we're going to need stable funding from the state. We understand that the state budget is in crisis and that we must do our part. But for the longer-term future of California, we need a funding model that provides stability for public higher education. As the budget debate in Sacramento progresses, we're going to be making that case repeatedly.

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