Budget eyes boosting pay and services

Gov. Gray Davis proposed a 2001-02 state budget last week with widespread ramifications for the UC system. The budget would fund the enrollment of 5,700 more UC students, maintain affordable fees for students and their families, boost employee salaries, invest in UC initiatives benefiting the state and its economy, and maintain high-quality teaching, research and public service programs.

The budget provides the second phase of funding for the California Institutes for Science and Innovation and for a UC initiative to strengthen undergraduate education. It also expands support for graduate programs, provides new state support for summer instruction at three campuses and funds an expansion of student retention services.

"This is a budget that will allow the University of California to continue admitting all qualified students and providing them an education of the highest quality, while also focusing on the economic and social needs of California," said UC President Richard Atkinson.

"We are grateful to the governor for his strong and consistent commitment to higher education."

The governor's budget fully funds the "partnership agreement" between the university and the Davis administration, which calls for predictable annual increases in state support for UC's basic operations along with UC accountability in certain areas of performance. The budget also commits funds to some additional UC initiatives, largely for one-time, high-priority purposes. The UC state-funded operating budget would rise 6.3 percent in 2001-02 to $3.4 billion.

Highlights include:

  • Funding for an additional 5,700 students in 2001-02, or enrollment growth of 3.5 percent, including 1,000 additional students in engineering and computer science and 500 in education credential programs. Overall, the budget boosts graduate enrollments by 1,000 students.
  • No increase in mandatory systemwide student fees for a seventh straight year. Fees would remain at $3,429 for resident undergraduates and $3,609 for resident graduate academic students. For 1998-99 and 1999-2000, fees actually decreased 5-10 percent.
  • State support for summer instruction, to be phased in first at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. UC's plan is to add additional campuses in subsequent years. This new funding will help the university accommodate student enrollment growth over the next decade.
  • Funding for an average 2 percent employee salary increase, along with funding for merit increases for eligible employees. The budget would provide an additional $10 million to improve compensation for staff positions where pay currently lags the market.
  • An extra 1 percent increase for faculty members, to keep their salaries competitive with those of UC's comparison institutions across the country.
  • $75 million as the second of four installments of funding for the California Institutes for Science and Innovation, three research facilities selected by Gov. Davis last month following a peer-review process. The budget also proposes $33 million as the first of three installments of funding for a fourth institute, focusing on information technology.
  • Funding to strengthen the undergraduate educational experience by reducing class sizes, offering additional lower-division seminars, providing more undergraduate research opportunities, offering more academic advising among other things. The budget adds $8 million to $6 million provided in 2000-01 for this purpose.
  • $3 million to expand student retention services including counseling and career guidance, tutoring, summer bridge and orientation programs, and services for disabled students.
  • A $1.5 million increase for graduate and professional school outreach programs that encourage undergraduates to continue studies, and a $1.1 million increase for an electronic information system (www.assist.org) aimed at transfer students.
  • A $2 million permanent increase for research, and $4 million in one-time money for a genetic biomarker research project at the M.I.N.D. Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevel-opmental Disorders) at UC Davis.
  • A one-time $13 million for research important to the state in engineering and computer science, environmental science and integrated pest management, with at least $9 million of that to support graduate students in each area; $18 million to expand student and faculty access to the faster Internet2; $20 million for deferred maintenance, instructional equipment and library materials; and $2 million to accelerate faculty hiring at UC Merced.
  • A $203 million bond-funded capital budget for facilities projects at UC, and $160 million in general funds for construction of the first buildings and infrastructure at UC Merced.

The budget will be considered by the Legislature and revised by the governor in May, when new revenue forecasts become available. Final action on the budget generally occurs in June.

Media Resources

Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932, abagronis@ucdavis.edu

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