Jason D. Cox
A recent budget proposal by California Gov. Jerry Brown includes a drastic $12 billion state spending cut.
While virtually all state programs would be affected, things could be much worse for higher education.
“From the University of La Verne’s standpoint, Gov. Brown is looking to leave the Cal Grants intact,” University President Steve Morgan said. “That piece is very important and we are supportive of this proposal.”
Cal Grants are funded by the state and administered by the California Student Aid Commission. The grants represents a significant amount of funding – up to $11,124 a year to individual students – based on family income – to cover their college expenses.
“We go through this every year,” said Director of Financial Aid Leatha Webster. “It comes down to whether the governor and the legislature believe education to be a priority.”
Webster added that last year 700 ULV students received a total of $6.4 million in Cal Grants.
If Brown’s budget is not approved, he plans to ask the legislature to send the budget decision back to the voters.
“In (Brown’s) first proposal, which includes continued taxes for the next five years, the impact on ULV is modest,” Executive Vice President Phil Hawkey said. “If the governor’s proposal for continuation of taxes isn’t approved and he has to cut another $12.5 billion, we worry it will have a devastating impact on ULV. We’re keeping a close watch over the situation, which should be decided within the month of February.”
While La Verne’s with other education officials hope education spending will be preserved, the state’s fiscal crisis has not been all bad for the University.
“It’s a very different dynamic with the private universities,” Provost Greg Dewey said.
State budget cuts to UC’s and Cal States have meant cuts to classes and enrollment caps, and have caused students to take six years or more to complete there degrees. This has made ULV and other private colleges more appealing, Dewey said.
“Getting a degree in four years and being on the job market for two years really benefits us.”
Jason D. Cox can be reached at email@example.com.