About 250 administrators from public universities across California are in the Capitol today, pleading with lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown not to cut any more from the higher education budget.
The governor has already signed bills cutting $1.4 billion from the state's colleges and universities next year, with community colleges losing $400 million and the University of California and the California State University each losing $500 million.
"We have done our part," CSU Chancellor Charles Reed told the crowd gathered outside the Capitol before the day of lobbying began. "But you know what? That's enough."
To which the audience burst into applause.
College leaders fear an all-cuts budget could lead to an increase in tuition and much steeper cuts for their campuses. Already, fees at community colleges are going up $10 a unit. Cal State campuses will admit 10,000 fewer students next year. And UC campuses are planning a range of cutbacks, including, at UC Davis, eliminating some academic programs and admitting more international and out-of-state students, who pay higher tuition.
And that's the best-case scenario. University leaders fear their budget cuts could double if lawmakers go with an all-cuts budget. Jack Scott, chancellor of the state's community colleges, said those schools will turn away 400,000 students if the state doubles its cut to the community colleges.
Speaking to the crowd on the west steps of the capitol this morning, UC President Mark Yudof said higher education officials are "engaged in the fight of our lives to preserve this wonderful higher education system in the state of California."
"The building behind me is filled with good intentions," Yudof said. "The problem is to have those assurances, which are heartening, translate into dollars."