In his own words: Gov. Newsom explains his budget proposals for higher education

Amy Gaskin, Santa Monica CollegeCloud computing at Santa Monica College’s Center for Media and Design. Amy Gaskin, Santa Monica CollegeCloud computing at Santa Monica College’s Center for Media and Design. By EdSource StaffJanuary 13, 2020On Jan. 10, 2020 Gov. Gavin Newsom presented his proposed budget for California for the fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1, 2020. Departing from tradition, instead of making short remarks and turning to his finance director to provide more detail, Newsom spent nearly three hours explaining his budget. By far the most extensive remarks were about education, an indication of the high priority Newsom is placing on it. As a public service, EdSource is providing a lightly edited transcript of Newsom’s remarks on his higher education budget proposals below. For more details, go here for a summary report. To read what he said on early ed, go here, and on K-12 education, go here. 
We’re putting some $786.8 million of additional resources into higher education: $200 million in ongoing funding at the CSU and $217.7 million at UC. Both represent a 5% increase.
If I were a member of the (CSU) board of trustees and the (UC) board of regents, I would need to be reminded that there were close to 8% and 6.9% increases last year (at CSU and UC respectively). Those are baked into the baseline, plus an additional 5% this year. That 12.2-plus percent — not too bad. In fact, I’ll put that up against any 24-month higher education budget in modern memory. I just make that point because I know the appetites of my former colleagues and current colleagues on the UC Regents and CSU board of trustees, but that’s ongoing money. That’s the most important money.
We’re advancing $370 million for community colleges. We are doing a number of things, including developing zero-cost textbooks and providing legal services. Member Rubio (Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio) and others are advocating for Dreamer liaisons (on the campuses) and we included money for that. We want to expand books for dual enrollment.
We have enrollment growth projections in the budget. We’re doing some part-time faculty office hour pilots and some other faculty hiring pilots, which I think will be well received. And we’re also doing $83.2 million for apprenticeships. I made a 10-year commitment to get 500,000 “earn and learn” apprenticeships. We had 75,000 when I took the oath of office. Today we’re at over 93,000 apprenticeships in the state of California. We want to continue down that path. There’s $83.2 million in this space in the budget. And I say in this space because we want this to be a collaboration with our system of higher education, particularly our community colleges and our (Labor and) Workforce Development Agency. We’re also creating an apprenticeship council to really start looking at regional strategies and to build stronger industry partnerships. We’re not even close to where we need to be with private industry to help supplement our efforts.
And so this is a collaborative approach. It’s one that I think is long overdue. I don’t think it gets in anyone’s way. It just expands the circle of opportunity to advance our efforts.
On the issue of student loans, we have been meeting with a lot of experts in this space. We have quietly been putting together a work group. I want to formalize the student loan work group to focus on re-employment programs, loan forgiveness programs, better notification strategies and some issues around repayment options. I want to codify this loose advisory committee and make it more public and real. I want them to come out with some bold recommendations that we can advance. The Legislature may have their specific ideas this year. I look forward to hearing them. In the absence of that, we want to be prepared for next year’s budget to do something big in this space.
We also provide real money for more outreach to the student aid commission to connect with those that are currently struggling with debt.
Last year we put $96.7 million up for Cal Grants. It was part of our Parents’ Agenda — to focus on parents with children that are making a go of it and recognize their responsibility not just to themselves but to their families to get their own education. That was a significant enhancement. We want to add to that with an additional $21.6 million this year.
We want to increase opportunities in underserved communities. I have been so impressed with the Drive Coalition out of Fresno, a public-private partnership of the region’s leaders. They have put together a remarkable plan. They deserve to have that plan supported, not just rhetorically through a press release or a press conference. We’ll make a down payment on that plan by putting in $33 million to coordinate with UC Merced and also Fresno state.
We’ve got a partnership with GO-Biz and the Department of Agriculture. It’s an exciting project. We also are doing a workforce development plan, $17 million, to focus on a K through 16 collaborative with the Drive folks to focus on workforce needs. By the way, where does that come from? I have a higher education advisory committee. They asked that this will be their top priority this year, a demonstration project. And if they can prove it works here in Fresno, then we’d go to the central coast inland California. And don’t forget the north coast of California as well.
So that’s the budget in higher education.
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