Gov. Jerry Brown signs 2018-19 budget; UC receives $346.9M funding increase

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Zainab Ali/File

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Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state 2018-19 budget Wednesday, which included a $346.9 million increase in funding for the UC next year.

Of the $346.9 million, $98.1 million is a permanent increase from the 2017-18 budget, and $248.8 million will be given as one-time funding. $25 million in one-time funding will go toward UC Berkeley’s operating deficit after campus presents a plan to eliminate its deficit to the state Department of Finance and Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

“The $25 million item was not something UC Berkeley requested,” Chancellor Carol Christ said in a campuswide email. “We’re grateful to the state for recognizing our progress toward achieving a balanced budget.”

Christ addressed the contributions of several important parties in securing the funding, including students, government relations colleagues, UC Berkeley alumni and legislators. She added that campus anticipates meeting all of the 2018-19 fiscal year budget targets, although the final numbers will not be available until early fall.

Former ASUC external affairs vice president, or EAVP, chief of staff Sarah Abdeshahian said in an email that students were “ecstatic” to see their organization and hard work pay off but added that the budget did not include funding for mental health services.

“Signing this document was huge, and it wouldn’t have happened without the commitment, drive and passion of dozens of students from across the UC system,” Abdeshahian said in an email. “Our organizing doesn’t stop here. We’re already mobilizing for the next budget cycle.”

According to the Budget Act of 2018, instead of the $105 million in permanent funds — the base amount that is guaranteed every year — requested by the UC, the system will receive a one-time fund of $105 million for instructional funds, with an additional $2 million allocated toward increasing faculty diversity.

Diana Harvey, campus associate vice chancellor for communications and public affairs, said in an email that because of the $70 million in one-time funding provided to buy out a tuition and Student Services Fee increase, the tuition will not increase for the 2018-19 academic year.

“Moving forward, students and the UC must lead the way in negotiating a long-term solution for higher education funding with the state,” said former EAVP Rigel Robinson in an email. “This year’s budget allocation is a victory, but we can’t have the same fight every year.”

The permanent funding includes a 2.7 percent base budget increase of $92.1 million as well as $5 million dedicated to increasing enrollment of California undergraduates by 500 students in the upcoming academic year.

As a part of the temporary funding, UC received $35 million for deferred maintenance and $6.7 million for instructional funds and programs to support campus life and student well-being.

EAVP State Affairs Director Varsha Sarveshwar said the students who advocated for an increased budget were very pleased with the legislation, even though it was not the $105 million permanent funding increase the UC requested.

“It was hard to ignore that there was serious underfunding in our higher education system,” Sarveshwar said. “(We) wanted to shift this conversation about higher education. (Students’) education matters more than any political dispute.”

Contact Margaret Black at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @mblack_dc.