Colleges Consider Effects of Budget Cuts


California universities are reeling after Governor Jerry Brown’s recently proposed budget, which looks to cut $500 million from Cal States and UCs each. The results for the state will hopefully be a reduced deficit, but the cuts will also have a dramatic effect on colleges throughout the state.

While much attention has been given to the impact on four year colleges, community colleges will also feel the effects of the new budget. California community colleges face a $400 million cut, more than a 6% reduction of the California Community Colleges Budget. The budget proposal also calls for a $10 tuition increase for each class credit taken. These and other fees may increase though, as California has the lowest-priced community colleges in the country.

While Governor Brown suggests that the cuts would be geared towards the cost of instruction rather than the number of students served, schools fear that without reducing enrollment, the raising of costs to make up for the cuts will naturally result in a decline in enrollment.

However the amount of money cut may be reduced by almost half if Governor Brown’s June tax package is approved by voters.

“We would be cut by $5.2 million if Prop 98 passes,” Pasadena City College Public Relations Coordinator Juan Gutierrez said, regarding the budget’s effects on PCC. “It would be around $9 million if the proposition fails and in
the worst case scenario, $14 million, if Prop 98 is suspended.”

The Community College League of California’s website estimates that even with the tax package being approved, PCC will lose about 2,500 students due to increased student fees. Many of the cuts in Governor Brown’s budget will be lessened if voters approve the tax package in an election this June. Without that package, the cuts will remain and additional cuts will also be assessed.

Community colleges continue to face a high demand for enrollment, what with California’s high unemployment rate. Already facing a 30% increase in fees from two years ago, the new budget cuts’ effect on community colleges will clearly have a large effect, as Gutierrez aptly put it, “It’s an immense, massive cut.”