For the last 30 years, there have been budget cuts in the California higher education system (UC, CSU, and community colleges). The California legislature has been paying a smaller and smaller percentage for higher education over time (see last graph on this file) while students and their families have had to directly foot more and more of the bill — which has allowed the general populace to pay a smaller percentage of the bill, which could be seen as a good thing if taxes had actually gone down proportionally (which they haven't). Then again, taxpayers of California committed to paying for higher public education for all who qualified when the California Master Plan for Higher Education was developed.

What are the consequences of budget cuts in the UC and UCD? "Furloughs" (pay cuts), libraries closing, student fees increasing, layoffs, online courses — etc. The Death of the California Master Plan for Higher Education.

In particular, every students' educational fee will increase 32%. Undergraduate tuition will increase $2,378 per year, going from $7,473 to $9,811. This follows a long line of fee increases, as seen in the historic data: UCD student fees.xls

In a YouTube video posted on June 17, 2010, UC President Mark Yudof gave an update on the state budget process and UC's advocacy efforts in Sacramento.

UC Davis gave its students the opportunity to submit questions to panellists before and the day of the discussion, March 8th, 2011. The panellists were: - Linda Katehi, Chancellor - Bob Powell Chair of Academic Senate - Kelly Ratliff, Associate Vice Chancellor - Ralph Hexter, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor - Fred Wood, Vice Chancellor - Joey Chen, Former ASUCD Controller - Steven Ybarra, Former Civil Rights Attorney and current Professor.

History of the UC Budget

Student fees rise ever higher — California has abandoned us

  • The 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education was supposed to provide Californians access to an affordable college education (although there might have been issues with sustainability in the plan). Originally, in-state students’ fees were supposed to be only for “incidental costs,” not for tuition.
  • In 1978, CA Proposition 13 drastically reduced property taxes (a major source of funding for public education) and required a 2/3rds majority in the legislature to raise taxes again.
  • In 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger and the UC administration signed the Higher Education Compact. This started modest annual increases in state funds (but not enough to replace the loss in state funds Dynes and Schwarzenegger agreed to) and attempted to have private fund-raising to help pay for basic programs while creating large student fee hikes, especially for graduate and professional students.
  • Undergraduate fees have increased over 117% since 2002. In 1988, fees for one undergraduate student represented 5% of the median family income for a California household. By 2008, fees represented 17% of the median family income. Recent reports demonstrate that since 2004 UC administration has pledged student fees for bond collateral and interest on construction projects.
  • Between 1997 and 2007, faculty increased by 24% and student enrollment increased by 39%, while senior management increased by 118%. A report by the UCLA Faculty Association estimates that UC would have $800 million each year if management had grown at the same rate as the rest of the university since 1997. $800 million would cover the fees for 100,000 resident undergraduates.
  • The President of the UC has a compensation package of $841,880,10 and the new Chancellor of UC Davis was hired with a base salary of $400,000, which is 27% higher than that of her predecessor.

An Alternative View on Who is to Blame for the Budget Problems

The UC administration generally blames Sacramento for rising tuition and employee "furloughs". See's "A Crisis of Priorities" for reasons why this is misleading, and why the UC administration and regents are themselves for protest. Check out Budget Lies on as well.

Proposed Changes for 2010-2011

  • Davis Student Co-op: Part of affordable and alternative student living, it is planned to no longer exist beginning August 1, 2010. This decision comes from Student Housing, citing economic concerns. Aggie article
  • Textiles and Clothing division: The only one of its kind in the UC. In order to deal with the budget cuts the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is considering closing this division. They will do this by no longer funding the department and not hiring teachers to replace those that retire. "There will be fewer TAs for discussions and laboratory courses, reduced maintenance and expansion of facilities and fewer student service and outreach funds." Aggie article
  • Nematology: Recommended for closure.
  • Environmental Design: Recommended for closure.
  • Intercollegiate sports: On April 16, 2010, UC Davis athletics administrators announced that they would cut the women's rowing, men's wrestling, men's indoor track, and men's swimming and diving teams this summer in order to address budget cuts to the athletics department. Around 100 UC Davis athletes have filed a grievance with Student Judicial Affairs, alleging that the University's process was not transparent (i.e., the reasons for eliminating these teams was not revealed) and that students were not given sufficient notification to make other plans. They ask for interim reinstatement of the teams and permanent reinstatement after a full review.

Changes for 2009-2010

Party food reflecting budget reductions

  • School of Veterinary Medicine will face a $2.6 million loss for the 2009-2010 school year. This funding gap, both a product of the state budget and a weakened veterinary services market, has left the school's Academic Council little choice but to cancel programs, eliminate positions and forestall expansion - cuts that have the potential to significantly shake the foundation of the school. Aggie article
  • School of Education received a 3.9% cut for the 2009-2010 year, compared to the previous year. Aggie article
  • Graduate School of Management must shave an additional $560,000 off of their 2009-2010 budget. Newly appointed Dean Currall said that the GSM has already reduced programs, including two marketing campaigns for MBA students as well as the Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series. Dean Currall expressed some optimism saying that he's worried about how the cuts will affect the programs but that they seem "modest" and that it is too early to clearly define their effects. Aggie article
  • Furloughs: All UC faculty and staff were ordered to take unpaid "furlough" (non-working) days, ranging from a 4% pay cut to those whose salaries are less than $40,000/yr up to a 10% paycut for those whose salaries are $240,000 and greater (the original plan was for a 4% pay cut for those with salaries less than $46,000/year and 8% pay cut for everyone else, but faculty and staff insisted that the cuts be on a sliding scale by salary, and that suggestion was taken up). These are in effect for the 2009-2010 school year. Originally, the Board of Regents left the implementation of furlough days to each campus. Faculty voted overwhelmingly that some of the furlough days should be on instructional days in order to send a clear message to the public and to Sacramento that these cuts are hurting the UC system. However, ignoring the principle of shared governance between faculty and administration, on August 21, 2009 an email was sent out on behalf of Interim Provost Lawrence Pitts, stating that none of the furlough days would be on instructional days. At UCD, it was then decided that most of the furlough days would be on specified days during break periods. Thus, they are not truly furlough days, but rather pay cuts, especially for faculty whose research and teaching preparation duties continue regardless of whether it is a "furlough" day or not.
  • Hiring: Faculty and staff hiring has been frozen or reduced to a slow trickle.
  • Libraries: The UCD Library sought to "downsize" from 4 to 3 locations — by July 1, 2011, the Physical Sciences and Engineering Library collections, staff, and services would be integrated into the Shields Library. In order to make room, a plan was hatched to relocate much of the biological and agricultural sciences collection, currently on 3rd floor of Shields Library, into the Carlson Health Sciences Library building. In other words, collections that are used by the most popular majors on campus would have been exiled to the far west side of campus, inconveniencing students and faculty alike and de-emphasizing collections that many think should be the focal point of the UCD Library. Once again, this decision was made without proper faculty consultation, but following a faculty letter writing campaign and several meetings, on November 9, 2009 Chancellor Katehi sent an email saying that she has determined that "it will be best for us to reset the consultation process in regard to the General Library’s budget situation for 2009-10 and beyond—we will start over... The process will proceed by providing multiple opportunities for the faculty to engage in suggesting and reviewing options for addressing today’s budget reductions that do not jeopardize the quality of library services and collections in the future."
  • Libraries and furloughs: With mandatory furloughs being held during winter break, the library was completely closed Dec. 24, 2009-Jan. 3 2010 — you know, the time when faculty are trying to get their research done and syllabi prepared for winter quarter.
  • Breastfeeding Support Program: There will no longer be breast pumps or lactation specialists on campus. Aggie article
  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: Received a $3.8 million cut in funding for 2009-2010. It will go from $70 million to $66.2 million, a 5.2 percent decrease.
  • ESL lecturers were laid off in order to cut costs.
  • Cowell Student Health Center cut hours of operation this year due to furloughs.
  • Campus resource centers (serving underrepresented and marginalized communities at UCD) suffered cuts to programming and hours to account for budget cuts this year.

Protesters' Response

Fee increases as compared to the CPI (red line). All values are normalized.

Numerous protests at UCD have occurred in response to the approved and proposed solutions to the budget cuts.

  • March 4, 2010: See March 4, 2010 Public Education protest
  • November 24, 2009: Students (both undergraduate and graduate), faculty, staff, and concerned members of the community gathered at Mrak to continue their disapproval with the 32% fee hike and the closing of Davis Student Co-op. The demonstration ended with an agreement between the administration and the occupiers. video clips.
  • November 20, 2009: Protesters, finding Mrak Hall was closed, went to Dutton Hall to continue their outrage with the Regents approval of the fee hikes.
  • November 19, 2009: Fifty two people arrested at Mrak Hall for refusing to leave after business hours. People converged to protest the UC Regents approval of a 32% student fee hike that will take place over the next year. The demonstration was covered by quite a few media sources. ABC News 10. As these budget cuts affect all UC students, protests took place at other UC campuses including UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, and UC Los Angeles. There were also protests held the same day at SFSU, Humboldt State University, and Fresno.
  • September 24, 2009: Walkouts/strikes/protests occurred on the first day of classes. This was in response to the imposition of furloughs on faculty and staff, the flagrant disrespect for shared governance by the administration, and the threatened fee increased for students. See UC Faculty Walkout for an explanation of the issues and related links.

Administration and Regent Response

  • Mark G. Yudof, UC President: Quoted in the SF Chronicle as saying, "There will not be any students who won't be able to afford a UC education...If someone slips through the cracks, send me an e-mail and we'll take care of it." According to the article, Yudof "was referring to UC's Blue and Gold program in which the university will pick up the entire tuition, excluding living and campus costs, for students whose families earn $70,000 or less and who qualify for other financial aid such as Cal Grants and federal Pell Grants."
  • Linda Katehi, UCD Chancellor: Wrote a letter in response to this whole mess in which she put forth the idea of marching on Sacramento, among other things. Whether or not she really thinks it will work or if she's just trying to get those pesky students from coming to Mrak again is yet to be seen.

Changes for 2008

The UC Board of Regents made plans to cut funding, while at the same time giving a top administrative aid a 26% pay increase of $61,000.

Changes for 2004


  • Fall 2004 freshman enrollment would be reduced 10 percent
  • Spending on faculty would be cut 5 percent, aimed at increasing student-faculty ratio
  • Fees would increase 10 percent for undergraduates, more for graduate/professional
  • Financial aid would be cut from 33 percent of new student fee revenue to 20 percent
  • Deeper cuts proposed for outreach, research, administration, other programs

Legislative Proposals

  • Assembly Bill 1239 (AB 1239) Summary: Temporarily establishes 10% and 11% personal income tax (PIT) brackets for high-income taxpayers and increases the alternative minimum tax (AMT) rate to 8.5%.
  • Assembly Bill 1130 (AB 1130) Summary: Establishes a 10.3% personal income tax (PIT) bracket for taxable income in excess of $500,000.
  • Assembly Bill 656 (AB 656), authored by Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico. It would generate funding for the UC, the CSU, and the community colleges by enacting a new tax on oil and natural gas "severed" from California land or water. California is the only oil-producing state in the nation that lacks an oil/natural gas severance tax. You can join the Facebook "causes" page for the bill. The Governor has vetoed this bill on October 3, 2011.
  • SB 218, which strengthens the California Public Records Act by including any auxiliary organizations receiving public funds or performing government functions on state college campuses
  • SCA 21 and ACA 24, which allow California voters to decide whether the state should create a check on the Board of Regents through public oversight and, if necessary, legislative intervention.
  • In the past, the Governor has vetoed SB86, which prohibits pay-raises for top executives in years in which the UC or CSU budget does not receive an increase in state funding and SB 219, which ensures that all UC employees are given the same whistleblower protections as other state employees.
  • UC Berkeley Professor George Lakoff is trying to get a proposition on the ballot that would state simply, "All legislative actions on revenue and budget must be determined by a majority vote" (instead of the current 2/3 vote). Proponents of the proposition say that the 2/3 requirement permits a minority of legislators to prevent proper funding for higher education (among other things). Approved on November 2, 2010.
  • Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed amending the state constitution to shift money from prisons to higher education. — The amendment would limit the state correctional budget to no more than 7 percent of state general fund revenue and guarantee that the UC and CSU together would receive no less than 10 percent. The funding shift would begin in the 2011-12 fiscal year and be fully realized in 2014-15.

News Coverage



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2009-11-21 23:04:10   Whoa, so if my dad decided to work a little less I would get a free education? Huh. My parents are not the type to work less to get stuff for free and they raised me better than that too. I know that Ivy Leagues give enough financial aid so that families earning less that $160,000 a year pay no more than 10% of their incomes for an education, but even they only give free rides to those making less than $40,000 a year. The $70,000 a year seems a little high. —hankim

The cost of living varies significantly throughout the country, and is among the highest in the Bay Area, where UC Davis draws the majority of its students from. $70,000 here is very different from $70,000 in many other parts of the country. —IDoNotExist

  • Even so, a family of four making $70,000 a year is not that bad even in the Bay Area, unless you are living in San Francisco or some other ridiculously expensive neighborhood. —hankim
    • A family of four with a combined income of 70k in the Bay Area is fairly tight / bad. See "A family of four in the Bay Area with two working adults must earn $77,069, equaling an hourly wage of $18.53, just to pay for basic necessities, a study released today calculates."
      • The first example they gave is a family living in San Francisco. The article I feel gives an inaccurate representation of the Bay Area, because not too many places are as expensive as San Francisco. —hankim

2009-11-25 10:14:18   "The California legislature has been paying a smaller and smaller percentage for higher education over time while the working-class has had to foot the bill."

This statement seems a little misleading because it makes it seem like nobody else pays if California decides to pay more for education when in fact taxpayers are footing the bill. Basically the same people will be paying if the state pays a larger amount, except the costs will be more hidden. Also, if by working-class you mean someone below the socio-economic middle class, that does not make sense as well because those people receive aid. The ones who have the most trouble footing the bill are those in the middle class earning under $100,000 a year, who will be the ones taking a significant hit. —hankim

It's not the same people footing the bill. That'd only be the case if income and other taxable assets were uniform, which they aren't. —PhilipNeustrom

  • You got me there. So, it'll be the same middle class I mentioned earlier who gets not too many tax breaks or financial aid. —hankim

2009-11-29 10:29:28   It would be really interesting to see how the state budget for higher education compares against the state budget for the Dept of Corrections over the last 20 years. I don't have time to do the research, but if that showed a disproportionate increase in spending for prisoners over students, that would be good ammunition for the argument. Any one have time to find and chart those numbers? —Chuckles

  • Here is an article: I would like to think the cost of prisons would be debatable, but we live in a very bleeding heart state. Unlike Arizona, California would crucify a Sheriff Joe, so saying we should spend less on prisons and give prisoners less luxuries would probably not succeed too well. —hankim
  • P.S. I just found a site with a graph:
    • Only seven years? C'mon Chronicle, get it together. The only way we can say anything interesting is if we look at generational scale changes, and compare the results without the effects of year-to-year budget cuts/windfalls. —BrentLaabs
  • Comparing education expenses to penal expenses is a fallacious argument, and is no more relevant than comparing education expenses to welfare expenses, or education expenses to defense expenses, or education expenses to transportation expenses, etc. People make this comparison because they have a general dislike for penal expenditures. Comparisons in each case should be along the lines of what is the current cost to society with our current penal expenditures, versus what would the cost be if we did not spend on the penal system. If some of the incarcerated individuals were not jailed due to spending cuts, it is conceivable that the cost to society might even be greater (more police action, higher insurance premiums resulting from increased crime, etc.) Each item in the budget should be prioritized separately, and a minimum funding level should be established. Then you prioritize the rest of the spending after you have funded essential items to their minimum levels. —DavidGrundler
    • When it comes to politics, common economic sense taught in a high school classroom is often ignored for what is politically popular. —hankim

2009-11-29 15:31:46   So from the 2000/01 budget to the 2009/10 budget (General fund numbers, since that is what the chart is using) There has been an 11.7% increase in spending for higher education (less than inflation?) as compared to a 57.7% increase in spending on criminals over the same period. I would call that disproportionate and worthy of bringing to the attention of our elected officials who must think that criminals are a better investment than educated, productive members of society. —Chuckles

  • Private education institutes think criminals are a better investment as well:
  • Dismiss it all you want, they've got nothing to do but study. I bet you they out-perform the regular students. —GreatRyan
    • I'm sure if normal everyday students did not have to worry about money, chores, and food it would be a more fair comparison. Also, the prisons have basic general education classes, so inmates getting 4.0s mean nothing when you compare them to students with lower GPAs who are taking higher level classes. And the inmates listed in the article I posted are serving life sentences, so the education won't really improve society. Finally, we cannot let our prison system deteriorate so much that people start committing crimes for free food, health-care, and an education ( ). —hankim
  • Keep in mind while you ponder correctional expenditures that the current healthcare bill stipulates jail time for people who don't participate in a medical insurance plan. —DavidGrundler

2010-03-04 23:21:44   I'm starting a counter-protest movement to (peacefully) combat and speak out against these irrational wacko protesters. I've tentatively named the movement "the UC Loyalists" but it could be changed if anybody thinks of a better name. E-mail me at jameschalmers84@yahoo.comJamesChalmers