UC President Calls for Shared Sacrifice, Innovation

Responding to enactment today (July 28) of a new state budget that cumulatively reduces support for the University of California by more than $800 million, UC President Mark G. Yudof renewed his call for both shared sacrifice and forward-looking innovation within the 10-campus system.

The UC Board of Regents approved systemwide furloughs July 16 as part of a plan to offset $813 million in state funding reductions for fiscal years 2008-09 and 2009-10. In addition to payroll savings achieved through the furloughs, the university intends to fill the overall budget gap through cuts among all of the campuses, previously enacted student fee increases, refinancing of debt, and further administrative cost controls within the Office of the President.

The university also must address an additional $335 million in increased costs unfunded by the state. These unfunded costs include over-enrollment of at least 11,000 students at UC campuses, higher utility and health care costs, and collective bargaining agreements and faculty merit increases in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 fiscal years.

“Everyone in the UC community is being asked to share the pain of our short-term solution, which is just one step toward finding the best ways to ensure long-term excellence and access for students and everyone we serve,” Yudof said.

“We’re doing all we can to minimize the impact of these cuts on the quality of all we do,” said Yudof. “At the same time, we’re acting now to chart a new course for the future. This pattern of annual cuts in state funding is unsustainable.”

A Commission on the Future of UC was created July 15 at the Regents’ meeting. It will be co-chaired by Regents Chairman Russell S. Gould and Yudof. The commission will engage experts inside and outside the UC system in an accelerated effort to re-examine the university’s mission, redefine goals and refine services, looking for approaches that will preserve excellence in a time of diminishing state resources.

Yudof praised the preservation of state-funded Cal Grants for students with financial need. He had urged the state to honor its commitment to provide funding for the Cal Grant program, which will distribute an estimated $350 million to 46,000 financially needy students in 2009-10.

“Access to UC for low-income students would have been threatened if the state had reduced or eliminated Cal Grant funding,” Yudof said. “Over 30 percent of UC students are low-income Pell Grant recipients, a far higher percentage than at any comparable research university, public or private. The Cal Grant program, together with UC’s own financial aid program, has made this possible.”

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