State budget passage good news for our campus

The 2022-23 state budget that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law just two weeks ago is a boon for the University of California system as a whole and for our campus specifically. It will strengthen our ability to help students succeed, advance our academic and research goals, and help us address campus infrastructure and capital needs. These positive outcomes are the result of a historic budget surplus of nearly $100 billion coupled with focused advocacy by  campus and system leaders.

Through the passage of Assembly Bill 178 and the higher education budget trailer bill, Assembly Bill 183, the state Legislature and governor forged an agreement with UC for unprecedented levels of funding. We are grateful our state leaders recognized that now is the time to invest in higher education and the UC campuses, which are in need of both ongoing and one-time funding for deferred maintenance, capital outlay, and a greater investment in students. 

I’m pleased that this budget includes $360 million in new, ongoing funding to the UC system. This includes a systemwide 5 percent increase to the base budget this year, with a five-year funding compact proposed by the governor. This provides the reliable funding necessary for the system to expand access to a world-class UC education to more Californians. It also supports the hiring of additional faculty. Also included in these new ongoing UC funds is $15 million for former foster youth, undocumented students, and those whose lives have been impacted by the carceral system. Additionally, this budget provides $125 million in one-time funds, systemwide, for deferred maintenance, seismic mitigation and energy-efficiency projects. UC Santa Cruz is also eligible, along with five other campuses, to apply for $3 million in ongoing funding in support of research, education and public engagement on labor issues in California. 

There are several key funding areas specific to our campus. These one-time dollars will be essential in addressing some of our most critical needs. I’m pleased to announce that UC Santa Cruz will receive $89 million in state grant funds to expand student housing in Phase 2 of the Kresge renovation project, providing housing relief for many students. In addition, this year’s Budget Act includes “intent language” to provide $900 million in the Budget Act of 2023, and an additional $900 million in the Budget Act of 2024, to establish a revolving loan program for student-housing projects proposed by campuses in the University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges, pursuant to pending legislation. This may become an extremely important source of financing for future UC housing projects.

Also of importance in this budget, the governor and Legislature have recognized the great research being done at UC Santa Cruz in the area of climate change, resilience, and coastal sustainability. The budget includes an allocation of $20 million for the development of a Center for Coastal Climate Resilience at UCSC. This is extraordinary recognition of our campus’s preeminence in this area due to the contributions of our amazing faculty, staff and students. The goal of the center will be to pull together campus research and to partner with state and federal agencies as well as private foundations to address climate change, especially in coastal regions. The Office of Research will head up the effort and form a task force to help advise and guide the use of these funds. More information will be provided in the coming weeks on this topic.

I am so pleased with this year’s state budget. I have been honored to work with our state legislative leaders and truly appreciate the leadership of our campus representatives, Sen. John Laird and Assemblymember Mark Stone, in helping ensure that UC Santa Cruz and California’s students are getting the resources they need to be successful. This budget is foundational, and will help UC Santa Cruz advance our state and our students well into the future.