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Governor signs 2007-08 state budget
Funding for Helios, EBI research initiatives is included, along with a 5 percent pool for employee salary increases

| 29 August 2007

On Aug. 24, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a 2007-08 state budget that includes funding for student enrollments, faculty and staff compensation, academic-preparation programs, and key research initiatives at the University of California.

"We greatly appreciate the support the governor and Legislature have provided in this budget for the teaching, research, and public-service missions of the University of California," said UC President Robert Dynes. "In a challenging budget year, our state's elected leaders have made an important decision to continue investing in the promise and impact of public higher education.

"This budget includes funding to provide a place at the university for eligible students who have worked hard to get here, helps us address faculty and staff compensation levels that still trail the market, and continues to support college-preparation programs for educationally disadvantaged students in our public schools. It also invests in university research that will support our planet's sustainability and keep California on the leading edge of green-technology development."

Under the final spending plan, UC's state-funded budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 will total $3.27 billion, an increase of $196 million (6.4 percent) over the prior year.

The governor vetoed a $1.5 million legislative augmentation for agricultural research, a $1.5 million legislative augmentation for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and $500,000 in state funding for a UC facility in Mexico. The governor supported the rest of the UC budget as adopted by the Legislature, fulfilling the terms of his "compact" with the university.

The budget assumes the student-fee levels approved in March by the Board of Regents for the 2007-08 year. To supplement state funding in order to address the university's budget needs for the 2007-08 year, the regents adopted fee increases of 7 percent for resident undergraduates, academic graduate students, and most professional-school students. A substantial proportion of this fee revenue will be returned to financial aid to preserve UC's affordability for students.

Key elements of the 2007-08 budget include:

Enrollment growth: The budget funds growth of 5,000 students (2.4 percent), consistent with the compact between UC and the governor. This increase will allow UC to meet its commitments to undergraduate access under the Master Plan for Higher Education and continue to increase graduate enrollments as well.

Faculty and staff compensation: The state budget, combined with other university revenues, will provide a 5 percent pool for employee compensation increases, including merit-based and equity-based salary increases, new salary scales for faculty, health- and welfare-benefit cost increases, and related cost increases. This funding level compares to a 4 percent pool last year; the increase is critical to begin closing the market-pay gaps affecting many UC faculty and staff. It should be noted that compensation programs vary across the university and distribution of funding is subject to collective bargaining requirements where applicable, so individual salary increases will vary. [Editor's note: No announcement has yet been made about how the Berkeley campus will manage its pool allocation.]

Student academic preparation: The governor preserved $19.3 million in state funding restored to the budget by the Legislature for student academic-preparation programs, which work to improve the academic achievement and college preparation of students in many of California's disadvantaged public schools. This action continues the 2006-07 state funding level for these programs.

Research programs: The final budget includes two research initiatives from the governor's January budget proposal: lease revenue bond funding of $30 million for the Helios Project, an initiative by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to create sustainable, carbon-neutral sources of energy; and $40 million for the Energy Biosciences Institute at Berkeley, which focuses on the development of alternative fuels.

The governor also sustained the Legislature's action to continue $6 million in state funding for UC labor research programs. [Editor's note: This funding, targeted for deletion in Schwarzenegger's proposed budget for the fourth time in as many years, was restored to versions of the budget passed by both houses of the Legislature.]

The budget passed by the Legislature did not, however, include a proposed funding increase of $15 million for operations of the four UC-based California Institutes for Science and Innovation. [Editor's note: These include, at Berkeley, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3).] This item will continue to be a high priority for UC, given the importance of the institutes to California's innovation leadership and economic success.

UC Merced: The budget continues $14 million in one-time funding for start-up costs.

COSMOS: The governor sustained a legislative augmentation of $500,000 for the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science, a UC residential summer academic experience for top high-school students in mathematics and science.

Mexico City facility: The governor vetoed $500,000 in state funding for UC Mexico research that was allocated for Casa de California, a facility intended to become the home for many UC education and research activities in Mexico City. UC will need to explore financing options for the facility in light of the veto.

Student fees: As noted above, 2007-08 student-fee levels were set by the regents in March. Mandatory systemwide fees will be $6,636 per year for resident undergraduates and $7,440 for resident graduate academic students (these fees do not include campus-based fees, housing, books, and other costs). Professional-school fees vary by school.

UC will return 33 percent of the revenue generated by the undergraduate fee increase to financial aid. This means that the university will be able to provide an additional grant covering 100 percent of the fee increase to eligible on-time financial-aid applicants whose family incomes are lower than approximately $60,000 per year, and a grant covering 50 percent of the fee increase to other eligible on-time financial-aid applicants whose family incomes are below approximately $100,000 per year. The "return to aid" will be 45 percent at the graduate level and 33 percent for professional school students.

Full details on student fees and financial aid are available at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/budget/studentfees2007.html.

Capital budget: The budget includes $520 million in capital-improvements funding at UC. This figure includes the $70 million in lease-revenue-bond funding mentioned above for the Helios Project and Energy Biosciences Institute, and $450 million in general-obligation bond funding approved by California voters for UC's regular capital-improvements program. The capital program funds facilities construction and improvements to address enrollment growth, life safety, and infrastructure-renewal needs on UC's campuses. Of the $450 million, $130 million is designated for facilities and equipment to expand UC medical-school enrollments and improve health care for currently underserved populations and communities in California, through expanded use of tools such as telemedicine.

Full details of the governor's budget are available at www.ebudget.ca.gov.