H-CENTRAL COAST

Jan 11, 2011 2:21 AM by Ariel Wesler

State budget cuts target higher education

There could be significant cuts to higher education in California. The state university system is the the country's largest four year system, and is facing cuts as large as 18 percent.

Governor Brown's tough budget would hit higher education hard.

"I think we all knew it was coming, but we didn't know to what extent," said Cal Poly ASI President Sarah Storelli.

It would slash half a billion dollars each from the Cal State and UC Systems. Community colleges would lose $400 million. That would raise fees from 26 dollars per unit to 36 dollars per unit at places like Allan Hancock and Cuesta.

"I think college is going to be more of an elitist type of thing, where students are going to be able to afford as much. They may have to drop out. They may have to stay longer, work a few more jobs," Storelli said.

Cal Poly students are already trying to absorb the 15 percent fee hike passed by Cal State Trustees in November. State legislators say these proposals look familiar.

"It appears to be a rehash of many of the Schwarzenegger ideas, which have already been rejected by the legislature and the voters," said State Representative Sam Blakeslee.
He says he's committed to working with Governor Brown to find a better way to solve the budget crisis.

"Until we fix our tax code and bring jobs back to California, we're going to face ever worsening budget shortfalls," Blakeslee said.

"At the end of the day, we have to deal with it and so, we're going to try and do that as best as we can and keep on lobbying and making and difference and fighting for higher education," Storelli said.

While community college tuition could go up $10 dollars a unit, the UC's and Cal State have not speculated on their tuition increases, but school leaders say the budget cuts could force turn away qualified students because of limited resources.

C.S.U officials say the $500 million in cuts brings them back to funding levels from 1999 to 2000.
Except, this time, the system has roughly 70,000 more students.

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