LAO: Raise Fees to $40/unit - Feb. 25, 2010
The Legislative Analyst's Office, which is the nonpartisan adviser to the Legislature, just released its http://www.lao.ca.gov/laoapp/Analysis.aspx?Year=2010&toc=1&chap=9 recommendations for the higher education budget, including community colleges.
In summary, the LAO recommends:
- raising fees to $40/unit effective fall 2010, which would provide approximately $150 million in new revenue
- eliminating the general fund augmentation for student enrollment growth, instead funding it through student fees
- eliminating the proposed "negative" COLA, using the additional fee revenue
- rejecting the proposed suspension of the competitive Cal Grant program, and instead implementing other cost containment measures within the Cal Grant program
We appreciate that the Legislative Analyst endorses funding enrollment growth and the rejection of the "negative COLA," however, the funding source is plain wrong. Raising fees to $40 per unit--a doubling over 18 months--is the both the wrong message and impractical given the stagnation in per capita personal income.
With the course reductions and program cuts across the state, the large fee increase would be a one-two punch that likely would knock out many students.
With $5.5 billion in tax cuts scheduled to take place on December 31, the Legislature has much better options for expanding college access and restoring student success programs than such a large fee increase. A modest delay in corporate tax cuts could expand access and restore many community college cuts enacted last year, and would be well timed to enable community colleges to get California back to work.
If our students are asked to pay more, any increase must be part of a long-term commitment to limit fee increases to the change in personal income, advance notice, and an assurance that students--not the state's general fund--benefit from increased quality and access. These were the principles 3.6 million Californians voted for in Proposition 92, and these are the principles we will continue fighting for in the Legislature.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Community College League of California
2017 O Street, Sacramento, California 95811
916.444.8641 . www.ccleague.org