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Key takeaways from a recent LAO publication

Over the next few months, our office will publish a series of budget analyses. In most cases, rather than sending out an announcement for each publication, we will provide periodic updates with the key takeaways from recent pieces. All of our 2023-24 budget analyses to date can be found here.

The 2023-24 Budget: Higher Education Overview

Governor’s Budget Plan Focuses on Core Operations. The main component of the Governor’s higher education budget plan is unrestricted, base augmentations for the three public higher education segments. The Governor also proposes a package of higher education funding delays and cost shifts in response to a projected state budget deficit.
Plan Has Risks and Shortcomings. Its risks include ongoing base university spending increases that contribute to state deficits, certain budget actions that generate savings in 2023-24 but worsen the state’s future budget condition, and a community college apportionment shortfall that could crowd out other proposed spending. Its shortcomings include having no compelling cost basis for differences in the base increases proposed for the three segments, a lack of transparency and accountability for the university base increases, and enrollment expectations that have not been updated despite recent data trends.
Legislature Could Consider Various Improvements to Plan. These improvements include linking university funding increases to clear budget priorities, developing a plan to keep existing campus facilities in good condition, and revisiting certain university capital projects. The Legislature also could consider recognizing savings from lower-than-expected enrollment, identifying more budget solutions, and exploring a new tuition policy at CSU that would expand its budget capacity.

This article was released by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.