Capitol Alert

Brown adds out-of-state enrollment cap to UC budget proposal

Gov. Jerry Brown unveils the 2015-2016 state budget at the Capitol on Friday.
Gov. Jerry Brown unveils the 2015-2016 state budget at the Capitol on Friday. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Despite a major push for more funding by the University of California, Gov. Jerry Brown held steady on an already-promised $120 million increase in his proposed budget Friday, and added new strings to the allocation – including a cap on nonresident enrollment.

Out-of-state and foreign students, who pay additional fees, generate hundreds of millions of dollars for UC annually, but their rapidly growing presence has generated controversy among California families that feel they are being displaced. Brown inserted a provision in UC’s approproation this year that the university should not increase nonresident enrollment in 2015-16.

“The University of California is created by the people of California,” Brown said at his budget conference. “Yes, it’s good to have some foreign students and some out-of-state people, but I don’t think that should be a financial mechanism. It should be more the intellectual environment of the school.”

In the face of UC’s plan to raise tuition by 5 percent next year unless the state kicks in more money, Brown stuck to his “four-year investment plan” to steadily increase funding for the system contingent upon a tuition freeze.

California State University will receive a similar $120 million increase, though Brown also granted the system, which has not threatened a tuition hike, a one-time $25 million allocation for degree completion efforts.

UC has argued that it needs additional money to expand enrollment and cover rising retirement costs, but Brown said the university should look for ways to further reduce its cost structure instead.

“The university can be a fine university living within the funds that we’ve appropriated,” Brown said at his budget press conference. “The $120 million is not chump change.”

In a statement, UC President Janet Napolitano said she was “disappointed” in Brown’s proposal.

“Public universities require public support. On a per-student basis, the state is paying far less than it did in 1991,” she said. “These are the realities that drove the regents’ tuition decision and the key facts that should underlie our continued work with Sacramento.”

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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