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State lawmakers pass plan to increase UC resident enrollment by 30,000

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MAY 13, 2016

A state legislative subcommittee unanimously passed a plan Tuesday to increase UC resident enrollment by 30,000 students over the next six years.

The plan would increase enrollment by 5,000 new California students per year and also cap nonresident enrollment at 10 percent of total UC enrollment. The education finance subcommittee also discussed this year’s enrollment increase and Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2016-17 budget proposal, among other topics.

The governor’s budget proposal includes a $125.4 million General Fund increase, or an increase of four percent over the current year. The university also requested an additional $6 million General Fund to increase graduate enrollment by 600 students to match the undergraduate enrollment increase this year. Both proposals will be further discussed after further revisions to the budget Friday.

The six-year enrollment plan is projected to cost approximately $513 million by the 2022-23 school year, as a result of additional resident students and the loss of revenue because of fewer nonresidential students.

According to State Government Relations Director Kieran Flaherty, the university opposes the plan but is still interested in furthering the discussion regarding enrollment increases.

“It’s a very steep increase (in enrollment), the equivalent of adding a whole new campus, more than some of the enrollment at some of our campuses,” Flaherty said at the meeting. “Obviously, it begs a lot of questions related to the facilities and services available.”

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, who is the subcommittee chair, said at the meeting that the total increase in enrollment would be mitigated by the decrease in nonresident enrollment. He added that the plan was not finalized and would be considered in later discussions of the final budget.

“This is really a problem that we created,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, of current nonresident enrollment levels. “We did not adequately fund UC, so I think, looking at this plan, everybody making a bigger commitment to try to increase those numbers to an area that’s acceptable to all of us is certainly a good overall goal.”

In order to finance the plan, 50 percent of the cost would be accounted for with nonresident tuition increases. The remaining cost would be covered primarily by increased General Fund allocations, although the UC system would be expected to cover approximately 10 percent of the cost.

The committee also looked at enrollment trends for this year, with the university and the Department of Finance both stating that they expected the UC system to meet the 5,000 student enrollment target set last year. This increase would provide an additional $25 million, which was included in last year’s budget but made contingent upon increased enrollment.

The subcommittee will reconvene after the governor’s May revision to the budget is released Friday, May 13, according to McCarty’s chief of staff. All budgetary actions will then be brought before the full budget committee the week of May 23.

Contact Trevor Greenan at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @trevor_greenan.

MAY 15, 2016