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Issue 5 — December 2002

November: Regents adopt UC budget request for the coming year and send it to the state for consideration

December: Special legislative session on the budget begins

January: Governor introduces state budget proposal for 2003-04

Spring: Legislature holds hearings on the budget; each house develops a budget proposal of its own

May: State revenues are updated and governor issues the "May Revision" to his original budget proposal

Mid-June: Legislature sends final budget to governor for action

Late June: Governor signs budget

July 1: New fiscal year begins

Mid-July: Regents update original UC budget request to conform to final budget adopted by the state

Dear UC Colleague:
While I'm reluctant to interrupt the holiday season with more news about the state budget, I do want you to have the latest information about how the University is affected by continuing budget developments. Therefore, we have developed this special edition of "Our University" to inform you of some mid-year budget cuts the governor announced on Friday, Dec. 6.

The governor proposed $10.2 billion in budget adjustments over a two-year period, including $3.4 billion in actions for the current 2002-03 fiscal year - with $74 million of this amount represented by cuts at UC. Details about the cuts are provided below.

I realize these cuts come at a difficult time, particularly for staff and faculty who are grappling with low salary increases and hikes in medical care costs. The reductions also are painful for the University, given that we already have absorbed major cuts and the University's funding is now significantly below what is called for in our Partnership Agreement with the Governor's Office. But it also is clear that the University must play a role in the State's budget solutions.

The University's principal priority is preserving access and quality in the instructional program, even amid budget cuts, and the governor's mid-year proposals are consistent with that priority.

The governor is expected to outline more cuts in January, when he issues his State budget proposal for next year. We will continue to make an aggressive case for the University's needs and for its critical impact on the State of California, and we will keep you informed of developments as they occur. In the meantime, please accept my best wishes for a peaceful holiday season.

  Fiat Lux,

 Richard C. Atkinson
Governor announces mid-year budget cuts
  • Cuts at UC target administration, other non-instructional areas
  • Regents to consider $135 spring student fee increase to prevent deeper cuts
  • UC keeps focus on preserving access and quality in the instructional program
  • More substantial cuts likely in next year's budget

Facing a major state budget deficit, Gov. Gray Davis has proposed mid-year spending reductions across state government, including cuts in non-instructional areas at the University of California.

The governor proposed $74 million in mid-year cuts at UC, on top of cuts already implemented this year. Areas affected include administration, libraries, K-12 outreach, Cooperative Extension and other public service programs, student services, and certain state-funded research programs.

The cuts also include a $19 million unallocated budget reduction for UC. To close this gap without reductions in instructional programs, the Board of Regents will be asked to approve a $135 increase in mandatory systemwide student fees for the spring 2003 term - the university's first such fee increase in eight years. Additional fee increases also would be assessed to professional school students in the spring 2003 term.

The state of California is facing a budget deficit estimated at more than $21 billion - an amount equivalent to approximately one-fourth of the current state budget. The governor has proposed a total of $10.2 billion in budget actions over a two-year period to reduce the gap, including $3.4 billion in actions for the current 2002-03 fiscal year. More substantial cuts are expected when the governor releases his 2003-04 state budget proposal in January.

"I remain optimistic about the long-term economic future of California, and thus the long-term budget future of the University of California," said Larry Hershman, UC vice president for budget. "But the short term will be very difficult, and next year we can expect even deeper cuts than those proposed today. We will be looking at a variety of options for absorbing those cuts in a way that protects our commitment to access and quality in the core instructional program."

The governor has called a special session beginning Dec. 9 for the Legislature to consider his mid-year proposals. The Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Dec. 16 to take action on a final 2002-03 university budget that incorporates the new cuts and to consider the proposed fee increases. If the Legislature makes changes to the governor's mid-year proposals, those changes will be incorporated into the university's budget at a later date.

The governor's announcement includes the following budget cuts at the University of California, to be implemented in the current fiscal year. In all of these areas, the university will first look to achieve savings through the governor's Executive Orders to freeze hiring, reduce travel, cancel orders for new equipment, and postpone contracts - as long as such actions do not interfere with the educational mission of the university.

  • Administration and libraries: A $20 million cut in general administration, academic administration, and libraries. Each campus and the Office of the President will have discretion to achieve its portion of the cut in locally determined ways.
  • K-12 outreach: A $3.3 million reduction to the university's outreach programs to K-12 schools, approximately equivalent to a 5 percent reduction.
  • Public service: A $2.5 million cut for UC public service programs including Cooperative Extension, an amount approximately equivalent to a 5 percent reduction.
  • Student services: A $6.3 million cut to student services, approximately equivalent to a 5 percent reduction in Registration Fee-funded programs. Campuses would have local discretion in achieving the necessary savings.
  • K-12 Internet: A $1.1 million reduction for the Digital California Project, which brings the next-generation Internet2 to California public schools.
  • Research: $18 million in one-time savings from unspent prior-year funding for targeted programs including labor research, substance abuse research, and U.S.-Mexico research.
  • AP online: $4 million in one-time savings from unspent prior-year funding for the UC College Preparatory Initiative, which provides online Advanced Placement coursework.
  • Unallocated reduction: A $19 million unspecified reduction, which the UC administration proposes to address through a $135 spring student fee increase and additional increases for professional school students. (Details on student fees are provided below.)

All of the governor's mid-year budget proposals are available at

Previously enacted 2002-03 budget cuts

The mid-year cuts announced for UC come on top of budget cuts already enacted during the budget process for 2002-03. The prior cuts include:

  • Research: A 10 percent, or $32 million, across-the-board budget reduction for state-funded research programs.
  • K-12 outreach: A net funding reduction of $7.6 million.
  • Teacher professional development: Elimination of $50.9 million for the California Professional Development Institutes for K-12 teachers - recognizing that the funds can potentially be replaced by new funding available to school districts - plus a $15.3 million reduction for the California Subject Matter Projects.
  • Core needs: A one-time reduction of $29 million for deferred maintenance, libraries, equipment, and instructional technology.
  • Internet2: A $10 million reduction for the Digital California Project.

In addition, the 2002-03 budget provided only 1.5 percent for merit increases for eligible faculty and staff, far less than what the university needs to stay competitive.

Impact on spring 2003 student fee levels

To address the governor's $19 million unallocated reduction for this year, the UC administration will propose to the Board of Regents that mandatory systemwide student fees be increased $135 per quarter beginning with the spring 2003 term. In addition, student fees for professional school programs would increase by between $150 and $400 per quarter beginning in spring 2003 - in addition to the $135 systemwide increase - with the amounts varying by field.

At all campuses except UC Berkeley, the spring quarter begins in late March and student fee payments are due by mid-March. At UC Berkeley, the spring semester begins in January, but students would not have to pay the additional fees until mid-semester.

"Given the other cuts the university is taking, we believe this is the best way to ensure that students will continue to get the classes they need to graduate on time and will continue to receive the high-quality education they expect of UC," Hershman said.

One-third of the revenue raised by the fee increase would be sent directly to financial aid in order to mitigate the impact on lower-income students. Generally, students from families with annual incomes of $47,000 or less would not be impacted by the fee increase.

Mandatory systemwide student fees have not increased at UC since 1994-95; in fact, in the late 1990s they fell 10 percent for resident undergraduates and 5 percent for resident graduate academic students. Currently, full-year fees are $3,429 for resident undergraduates and $3,609 for resident graduate academic students. (Campus-based miscellaneous fees add to the total.)

Fee increases beyond the $135 increase are being proposed for the professional schools in recognition of the fact that fees for all of UC's professional school programs are now significantly lower than the average at comparable public universities. The differential ranges from $2,200 per year in nursing to $8,400 in medicine.

The proposed professional school fee increases, in addition to the $135 systemwide increase, are $150 in nursing and theater/film/television, $250 in pharmacy and optometry, $350 in veterinary medicine, and $400 in medicine, business, law, and dentistry. (All figures are per quarter.)

Student fee levels for the following year, 2003-04, will not be set until early 2003. Last month, the Regents approved a request for a state-funded budget increase of 9 percent in 2003-04, based on the Partnership Agreement. The budget request included either a 6.5 percent increase in mandatory systemwide fees and professional school fees next year or an equivalent amount of state funding. However, final fee levels are likely to differ based on the state's budget situation and the governor's January proposal.

A Q&A on UC student fees is available at

Questions and Answers

Got a question? Send it to Due to the volume of submissions, we can't promise an answer to every question - but the feedback is important, and we will do our best to answer some frequently asked questions from both our November edition and this special December edition when our next installment is published in January.