Saturday, January 22, 2011

The $1.4 Billion Budget Cut For Higher Education

Monday, Jan. 10, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed budget calling for a $1.4 billion reduction in state funding for California’s higher education system to help combat the $25.4 billion budget gap for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The plan also includes a $1 billion cut for the UC and CSU system as well as $432.5 million in cuts to the state's community college system while increasing the price per unit from $26 to $36.

The California State University system has experienced severe cuts in recent years. Brown believes that these budget cuts to our state’s higher education system will be fully sustained on his plan.

Brown believes higher education, unlike health care services, is an easy place to cut because it's not tied up in federal mandates, but history seems to be repeating itself from Brown’s first governorship, from 1975 to 1983, where he cut funding for California’s Universities before.

The situation makes it difficult for lawmakers to both fix the deficit and keep all of the state’s programs funded without added revenue from increased taxes. Many California citizens want the lawmakers to pull money from where it doesn’t exist and fix the deficit, but we can't keep cutting higher education.

For many decades California was the state envied by others for its three-tiered system of higher education as a model for affordability and academic excellence. The Master Plan for Higher Education opened college to all state residents and helped the state grow both technologically and economically. But the devastating economic downturn has forced California to make harsh cuts to services such as education to resolve a large budget deficit.

I just hope that the people of California can get to the point where we can accept the raising of taxes and leave higher education alone. California's colleges has suffered enough already.

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