Friday, May 19, 2000
Brad Hayward (510) 987-9195


Gov. Gray Davis, the University of California and the California State University have reached agreement on a new partnership that will provide for continued investment and accountability in California higher education during the coming years.

The partnership, a set of agreements between the Davis administration and the two institutions, provides for predictable annual increases in General Fund support for UC and CSU while also committing both systems to accountability in specific areas of performance. It takes effect immediately and will last at least through 2002-03.

"This partnership is a strong statement of the state's commitment to quality, access, affordability and accountability in California higher education," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson. "It is a plan that will greatly help UC meet its obligations to the tens of thousands of new students who will be knocking at our doors in the coming years."

The Davis administration announced the partnership in a letter to the chairs of the Legislature's budget committees this week.

The partnership aims to provide UC with growing financial resources in the coming years to help the university plan for the future, invest in core needs, and provide access to an affordable, high-quality education for the 60,000 additional students expected to enroll at UC by 2010. The partnership also includes UC commitments to timely graduation, increased transfers from community colleges, expanded teacher training, continued collaboration with K-12 schools and other objectives important to the state.

The Legislature will still review UC's budget annually. With the partnership, however, the Davis administration signals its intention to provide UC with a predictable 4 percent increase of state General Fund money each year, plus funding for enrollment growth. In addition, UC would receive a 1 percent increase dedicated to building maintenance, instructional equipment, instructional technology and libraries  areas in which funding backlogs exist  and would receive additional one-time funding for these priorities when fiscal conditions permit.

The partnership also would make funding available for annuitant benefits; for debt service related to capital outlay; and for new or expanded initiatives such as the development of off-campus centers, year-round operations, increased outreach to K-12 schools, or special research initiatives. The partnership includes $210 million per year for UC facilities needs, consistent with voter-approved Proposition 1A, and support for new capital funding after Proposition 1A expires in 2001-02, through either a new bond or other state funds.

Additionally, the partnership calls for mandatory systemwide student fees to rise each year by no more than the increase in California per-capita personal income. The governor and the Legislature would have the option of "buying out" fee increases, as they have in recent years, by providing equivalent General Fund money. The 1999-2000 year is the fifth consecutive year without a mandatory systemwide fee increase at UC, and these fees actually have decreased 10 percent for resident undergraduates and 5 percent for resident academic graduate students.

In return for the state's funding commitments, UC commits to accountability on a number of key objectives, such as ensuring student access to the university under the state Master Plan for Higher Education, maintaining faculty teaching loads that provide students with the classes they need for timely graduation, preserving competitive faculty salaries, and more than doubling the number of teachers trained at UC by 2002-03.

The agreement also calls for UC to continue expanding outreach programs to improve the academic performance of K-12 students, increase the number of transfer students from community colleges, increase regional collaborations with the other segments of public higher education, maximize use of its facilities, continue pursuing development of UC Merced, and continue graduating students who will meet California’s workforce needs, through means including an expansion of enrollments in engineering and computer science.

The university also will increase its research efforts to help California remain competitive in the knowledge-based economy, including creation of the California Institutes for Science and Innovation and expansion of the Industry-University Cooperative Research Program.

Also, the partnership calls for UC to create $50 million in internal budget savings by 2002-03 from increased use of technology and streamlining of administrative practices. Those funds would be redirected to the chronically underfunded areas of building maintenance, instructional equipment, instructional technology and libraries  purposes for which the state would increase permanent funding by $100 million between 1999-2000 and 2002-03.

"We look forward to meeting our obligations under this partnership to maintain high-quality academic programs, to expand educational opportunity and to help California remain competitive in the global economy," Atkinson said. "This agreement establishes benchmarks, for both the state and the university, that will help us plan wisely for the future."

The new partnership builds on the success of a similar four-year agreement between the two university systems and former Gov. Pete Wilson. That "compact," instituted in 1995, helped stabilize funding for California higher education following the recession of the early 1990s. Both the state and the university systems more than met their commitments under the compact.

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