State Senate committee approves bill to direct funding toward UC, CSU systems Wednesday

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A state Senate bill that would direct funding toward the UC and CSU systems, and potentially halt the 5 percent tuition hike, was unanimously approved by the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

SB 15 — introduced by senators Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, Marty Block, D-San Diego, and Carol Liu, D-Glendale — prioritizes access and affordability in higher education and implements initiatives to promote degree completion rates. The bill directs $75 million to each the UC and CSU systems to offer more course options and student support services.

“We can’t sustain a global economy on the backs of students or by shortchanging our higher education systems,” said Block, chair of the Senate Budget subcommittee, which deals with education funding, in the press release.

The measures of the Senate bill also include establishing the Graduation Incentive Grant for CSU students to reward them for completing 30 units per year in an attempt to keep them on track and graduate on time.

The press release referenced the Campaign for College Opportunity and said students who graduate in four years are “more likely to reduce their education costs and contribute to the state economy sooner,” while students who take six years will spend $58,000 more on expenses and are expected to earn $52,900 less over their lifetime.

“In ten years, California will need over one million more college graduates than it’s producing to sustain economic demands,” Leon said in the press release. “We have a growing social and economic crisis that demands action, and SB 15 will address that crisis.”

Contact Emily Pedersen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @epedersendc.