Budget revision proposes higher education funds

By: Rene Rauda

The new budget revision released by Governor Jerry Brown on May 11, revealed a proposed total of $33 billion to be invested in higher education.

These new funds will be distributed among all California Community Colleges, California State Universities and Universities of California.

The May revision mentions California Community Colleges will not raise tuition for the 2017-18 school year. In January, UC President Janet Napolitano presented a two and a half percent tuition increase for California’s universities that was approved in by the board of Regents.

C/N Steven Adamo

In addition, the Board of Trustees also approved a five percent tuition increase to all Cal-States presented by the CSU Chancellor’s office, in March.

“This May revision is the same as January’s proposal and it will benefit the college students even more,” Jeffrey Hernandez, vice president of the Academic Senate at East Los Angeles College, said.

“The more students that attend [ELAC], the more funds we will receive.”

Proposition 98, which passed in 1988, appoints an annual increase in education for the California Budget.

Community Colleges that witnessed a decline in enrollment recieved $28.5 million over the last three fiscal years.

The May revision states that an increase of $23.6 million will reflect towards unused enrollment.

President of ELAC Marvin Martinez said, “because students continue to come to [ELAC], there is a seven percent increase in student growth in 2017.”

The middle-class scholarship program was created help ease student debt to those who are having trouble receiving financial aid.

The program is on the verge to be phased out to accommodate the new budget. New applications will no longer be accepted and students who renewed their scholarship will only be covered for the 2016-17 academic year.

To qualify for the scholarship, a family must makes than $156,000 in both income and household assets.The candidate must also be a permanent California resident and maintain at least 2.0 grade point average.

AB-540 students who attended high school for three years or more with a high school diploma and planning to go to a CSU or UC also qualify for the scholarship.

The amount for the scholarship varies on the number of accepted students who receive the scholarship and based on the statewide budget.“It would be good for students if the middle class scholarship stays intact,” Hernandez said.

Guided Pathway is a program that is implemented in a community college to assist students in meeting requirements for a degree and help to increase student completion rate.

As stated the January budget proposal, “is to improve completion rates, reduce time-to-degree, increase California students’ employment opportunities, and reduce student debt,” as well as increase funding. The extra $160 million investment will bring the total to $184 million for guided pathway, according to the May revision. ELAC will receive $4 million toward Guided Pathway.

If the proposal passes legislation and Governor Brown signs, California’s new budget will take effect in July.

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