California Education Dialogue

A public policy dialogue produced by Information Renaissance
with support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,
IBM Corporation and Intel Corporation



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Briefing Book

Discussion Archive


Report of the Working Group on Facilities and Finance - Postsecondary


Executive Summary


Public Policy Goals for Higher Education Finance
Challenges to Achieving Policy Goals


Recommendation 1: Financial Stability
Recommendation 2: Accountability Framework
Recommendation 3: Electronic Technology
Recommendation 4: Students Fees & Financial Aid
Recommendation 5: Facilities




Submission Letter

Members of the Working Group

Appendix A: Student Fees

Appendix B: Ideas that did not achieve consensus

Appendix C: UC/CSU Partnership Measures


California has an extensive set of postsecondary institutions that offer a vast array of activities. Within that array, state appropriations constitute the core funding for each public segment of higher education and a large portion of financial aid available to students in private institutions. The state government also controls directly, or strongly influences, the level of student charges in public institutions.

Because of this role, it is important that the state’s approach to finance be tied directly to clear policy goals that meet the needs of students, serve the interests of the institutions, respond to the workforce needs of business, and fulfill the fiduciary responsibilities of state government to the taxpayers. The working group was guided by the following goals:

Shared Responsibility

Three challenges pose the most serious threats to California’s ability to meet these goals: (a) large, current unmet needs in the operations and facilities budgets of higher education, (b) a strong growth in enrollment demand, and (c) the lack of a long-term, comprehensive, and realistic approach to state finance of higher education,

To help achieve the goals and meet these challenges, the working group recommends that the Legislature and Governor take these actions:

Recommendation 1: Adopt policies to provide more stability for finance and dampen the “Boom and Bust” swings of state appropriations for higher education, by (1) committing to annually fund “core” needs and enrollment growth, (2) adopting a consistent and rational student fee policy, and (3) restoring community colleges historic share of the Proposition 98 guarantee.

Recommendation 2: Improve the state’s accountability framework by modifying and expanding the “partnership” budget approach, currently applied to UC and CSU, to (1) include all higher education, (2) clarify the link between performance and funding, and (3) adopt realistic alternatives for times of revenue downturns.

Recommendation 3: Change the way state government funds electronic technology to provide more access and choice for students.

Recommendation 4: Reform the state’s approach to student charges in the public segments and maintain the Cal Grant need-based financial aid entitlement.

Recommendation 5: Review the state’s methodology for determining and funding facilities in California higher education, and, as appropriate for each segment, make changes to emphasize, comprehensive space planning, multiple use facilities, sharing of space among institutions, and incentives to maximize other sources of capital outlay.

Table of Contents
Summary Introduction Recommendations
Appendices References Members