Brown Wants to Tie Some Funding of Universities to New Proposals

Tim Goral's picture

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to tie some state funding for California's public universities to a host of new requirements, including 10% increases in the number of transfer students from community colleges and the percentage of freshmen graduating within four years.

Brown, who has repeatedly said the universities should be leaner and serve more students, is asking for equivalent increases in several other areas as well, according to a copy of his plan obtained by The Times. Those include raising the overall number of graduates and a stipulation that more students coming from community colleges finish their studies within two years.

The document, which updates Brown's January budget proposal for overhauling higher education, also reiterates his demand for a four-year freeze on tuition and fees for undergraduate and graduate students. If either university system hiked costs, it would forfeit $511 million in state funding — a roughly 20% increase — over the life of Brown's plan.

The governor will release his revised spending blueprint next month. His conditions, if the Legislature approves them, could reshape the relationship between Sacramento and higher education institutions.

By meeting Brown's goals over the next four years, the University of California and California State University systems could see their funding approach levels not reached since before the recession. But the institutions have prided themselves on their relative independence from state government, and Brown's proposal has been greeted coldly by university officials unaccustomed to taking orders from politicians.

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