Higher education leaders and advocates are celebrating the $ 308 billion California budget signed by Governor Gavin News last Thursday to include $ 41.6 billion for higher education institutions for the 2022-23 academic year. However, some high-aid leaders were disappointed that the long-awaited reforms to the state financial aid program were included in the budget but not funded.
General funding for the University of California and California State University system increased 5 percent. California community colleges are poised to receive a বেস 600 million increase in ongoing base funding. The budget also invests in adding thousands of class seats to UC and CSU campuses for California residents who no longer have the capacity to meet the high demand among eligible local students.
“After all, it was a really healthy, strong budget that incredibly focused on students,” said Audrey Dow, senior vice president of the Campaign for College Opportunity, a California-based research and advocacy organization focused on student success.
He noted that community colleges have had some big wins in this year’s budget. For example, the system will receive an additional $ 10 million in continuous funding to support basic needs centers on campus that will help students face food or housing insecurity, as well as $ 10 million for continued funding to expand rapid rehabilitation programs. Between this year’s budget and last year, a total of $ 2.2 billion has been earmarked for student housing grants to help colleges and universities build housing for low-income students, including significant funding for community college housing. This includes কলে 542.1 million for community college-specific projects, $ 389 million for UC housing projects and $ 487.9 million for CSU housing projects over a three-year period.
“I think the governor and the legislature continue to acknowledge that low-income students, and above all students, are still feeling and feeling the effects of the epidemic,” Dao said. “We are finally, I think, acknowledging and acknowledging that students who have dropped out of high school are no longer students of traditional colleges. It really acknowledges that most of our community college students are heads of families, and finding a stable place to stay while going to college is a problem. “
Larry Gallegio, president and CEO of the Community College League of California, similarly praised the recognition that community colleges need to be part of a multifaceted approach to housing insecurity.
He expressed gratitude for the খুব 650 million COVID-19 recovery block grant to support efforts to tackle learning loss among community college students during the epidemic, in addition to the “very favorable” bump of foundation funding for the system.
“This budget helps,” he said. “It doesn’t solve all the concerns and problems and investing in community colleges for decades. But it’s a strong down payment for more sustainable ways for community colleges. “
The budget allocates $ 65 million to improve the system’s student transfer process and $ 64 million to help community college faculty members and administrators implement the remedial education reforms outlined in the 2017 Assembly Bill 705.
Campuses are said to have backtracked on the purpose of the law, which removed placement exams and compulsory remedial math and English courses at California community colleges and tried to enroll as many students as possible in courses with transferable credit. The new funding could lead to providing additional academic support and counseling to students so that they can succeed in their credit-bearing courses and teach professors the opportunities for professional development, among other costs related to reform, Dow said.
Katie Horn, an English instructor at Skyline College and co-founder of the California Acceleration Project, praised the investment in a faculty-led effort to track remedial education reform in the system.
“These funds will do much to support the strong and equitable implementation of the law,” Horn said in a press release. “These are big changes, and faculty support is needed to create new classes and teach ways to reach all students.”
The budget also includes various allocations for minority students, especially in community colleges. For example, the budget provides $ 1.1 million in continuous funding to expand the student chapters of the African American Men’s Education Network and Development Student Charters, which is intended to encourage the success of black men in California community colleges. By the Umoja program, which promotes academic success among black students. The budget includes $ 8 million in continued funding to California community colleges and the same amount allocated to the CSU system to build more support for students from Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islands, including targeted counseling and counseling services and more offshore courses in Asian American. Pacific Islander Study.
“This historic, ongoing $ 16 million investment puts California at the forefront of taking the necessary steps to advance equity and inclusion in higher education, especially for the AANHPI population who have been deprived of services for so long,” said Kartik Ramakrishnan, chairman of the Asian and California Commission. , Said in a press release.
Advocates for low-income students have also celebrated the reform of the Cal Grant, which began in the 2024-25 academic year, which could significantly expand access to state financial aid programs. The Cal Grant Equity Framework, adopted in the state budget, removes the funding constraint that could expand funding for an additional 100,000 students. Reforms include a one-year exemption from high school for students admitted to CSU and UC institutions and the elimination of the need for a GPA verification for community college students, which can be a barrier for older students who sometimes struggle to dig them up. High school transcript.
The new framework will streamline Cal Grant, notorious for its various grants, dividing the program into two types of awards: Cal Grant 2, for community college students, and Cal Grant 4, for students at four-year institutions. .
Marlene El Garcia, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission, said: “These major reforms at Cal Grant represent work done year after year to fix financial aid and remove barriers that keep thousands of students away each year.” A news release. Allocates funds for the commission to start planning changes to the budget.
However, the Cal Grant changes were not funded in this budget, so by 2024 the fund will actually implement the reforms. Newsom vetoed a bill last year to overhaul the Cal Grant because it would be too costly after California Finance Department officials opposed the program’s expansion.
Dow said he was not upset by the lack of funding and still considered the Cal Grant reforms included in the budget a “huge victory.”
“Although the fund is not in this year’s budget, we have no doubt that the governor and the legislature will ensure that it is in 2024,” he said.
Others are not so sure. Christopher Nelam, executive director of Education Trust-West, a research and advocacy organization focused on education in California, described the budget as “strong” and “targeted for some of the least privileged and subsidized schools and communities and students” with significant resources. But he was disappointed that Cal Grant’s reforms were not eventually funded.
“For me, when you are hired to support budgeting as a proponent of education, real success means securing dollars and cents for your priorities. You are advocating for and for schools and colleges in our state,” he said. “I think this budget has made some promises… but it doesn’t actually put new money in the pockets of low-income students who will benefit from the modernization of Cal Grant. That means those students will continue to struggle until our state actually decides to write a check for a benefit that I think is overdue and deserves a lot. “