For more than a decade, public higher education has been the under-funded stepchild in California’s budget process. This inadequate funding has disproportionately impacted students from diverse and low-income communities. I urge Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature to provide a fix by including full funding in the state budget for our California Community Colleges, California State University and University of California systems.
The numbers are startling. Due to inadequate funding over the past five years, California public higher education has denied access to 2.5 million students who were otherwise eligible to attend college. Students who are fortunate enough to enroll face growing debt and crowded classes, and many are unable to take classes they need to graduate because budget cuts have eliminated course sections.
Public higher education is the most effective and socially valuable driver for our state’s economic vitality. We must not postpone providing these public institutions the funding they need to ensure that every eligible person has access to educational opportunities. Our lawmakers must invest in our public higher education systems now for the betterment of all Californians.
Dawn McCulley, President, CSU Employees Union Chapter 308, CSU Stanislaus