California’s General Fund revenues in the coming fiscal year are expected to be 23 percent higher than a decade ago. But state spending on the University of California and California State University has grown at a fraction of that pace. As a result, their shares of the General Fund have taken a dive:
Sources: FYE08 Enacted Budget; FYE18 Governor’s Budget
One consequence is reduced services for students. Another is rising tuition costs. Eg, CSU’s tuition doubled over that period. Both UC and CSU have recently proposed tuition increases.
UC and CSU are being shortchanged because the State Legislature is allocating ever-larger amounts of money to healthcare corporations and government employees. Together those interests now capture >70 percent of the budget, as explained here.
In contrast, Rhode Island recently proposed two years of free college for its citizens. The money for that program is being generated in part by savings for fiscal reforms to pensions and healthcare spending.
Only the California Legislature can reverse this trend of ever-lower state spending on its public universities and ever-higher tuition for its residents.