Legislative Analyst’s Office raises concerns about higher education plan of Brown, Napolitano

Related Posts

The Legislative Analyst’s Office released its analysis of the agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano on Monday evening, expressing concerns that funding increases were unwarranted and that monitoring of the university was lacking.

The office, which does analysis for the state Legislature and is overseen by a bipartisan legislative committee, also said that the pension reform would be a long-term benefit for the university and that many of the agreement’s initiatives, such as three-year pathways to graduation and increased incentivization to take summer classes, follow the recommendations of educational experts.

“We believe planning to give UC such large funding increases in (2017-18 and 2018-19) is unwarranted and premature,” the report said.

The agreement, announced May 14 and contained in Brown’s May budget proposal, grants some new funding for the university in exchange for pension reforms and attempts to accelerate time to degree and to increase transfer admission.

According to the office’s analysis, it would take only a $98 million base-funding increase to keep the university’s budget consistent with current inflation. The office recommended that the Legislature designate how any additional funds above this level of increase would be used.

Napolitano said the increased funding under the agreement — $236 million for the 2015-16 school year — would enable the university to continue its role as the “nation’s preeminent public research university.”

The office also recommended no enrollment growth for the university, citing a declining college-age population in California. But Hans Johnson, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, said that enrollment growth is of central importance in light of a changing economy.

The university could not be reached for comment on the report specifically.

Daniel Tutt is the executive news editor. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @danielgtutt.