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Public Higher Education in California: Examining the Financial Landscape of the 21st Century

Apr 2012
Policy Brief
By  Shaowen Ang, David Crane, David Hoffert, Robert Jackman, Joe Nation
Over the last several decades, California’s public higher education system has been considered a worldwide model of excellence. In 2010, public higher education institutions in California enrolled just under 2.4 million full-time equivalent (FTE) students: 235,000 in UCs, 412,000 in CSUs, and 1.69 million in California Community Colleges (CCCs). Yet, recently, California has been providing its public universities with fewer resources. State General Fund support per student for the UC and CSU systems declined 28 percent in real terms between fiscal years 2007-08 and 2011-12—an average of 7 percent per year. Even before the financial crisis, the UC system’s per-student state funding was declining, decreasing 40 percent in real terms—3 percent per year on average—from 1990-91 to 2007-08.