Newsom Announces Formation of a Working Group for the Future of Higher Education


Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the formation of the first working group from his Economic Growth and Competitiveness Agenda for California released last month.

"The University of California, California State University and our Community College systems were once the envy of the world for their affordability, accessibility and world class faculty," said Newsom. "In order for California to regain its competitiveness in the global market place it must first recommit and reinvest to its world-class public higher education system."

The Lieutenant Governor's recently released agenda calls for the convening of a working group, "including leaders of the three higher education segments -- California Community Colleges, California State University and University of California -- along with key policy makers and business leaders, to address funding adequacy to ensure access to an affordable and high quality education for all students."

The first meeting of the working group for the Future of Higher Education will take place on September 15, 2011 in San Francisco. Additional members may be added to the group, but current participants include: UC President Mark G. Yudof, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, CCC Chancellor Jack Scott, UC Regents Chair Sherry Lansing, CSU Trustee Roberta Achtenberg, Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, Crowell and Moring Senior Counsel Michael Kahn, former California Finance Director Tim Gage, AFSCME 3299 President Lakesha Harrison, UC Berkeley student Jeremy Pilaar, CFA President Lillian Taiz, and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.

The group will be charged with identifying, developing and recommending funding solutions for California's public higher education systems. The Lieutenant Governor will make recommendations based on the work of this esteemed group to the Governor and State Legislature in November.

"The state's higher education system has been especially affected by the volatility of our state's revenues. This has lead to dramatic fee increases and severe disinvestment in public higher education," said former California Finance Director Tim Gage. "As a group, we hope to craft a real solution that will help revive our higher education systems."

"We cannot wait for the economic crisis to subside and the revenue picture to brighten," said Newsom. "Even if the economy were to rebound tomorrow, it would take years before the state is able to return to even 2001 funding levels for higher education. If California is to compete in the Next Economy we need a well-educated, well-prepared workforce to supply California businesses. Not in ten years -- NOW."


In the last ten years there have been eleven student fee increases in the University of California system. In that same time period, the California State University system has seen its tuition triple. Furthermore, this year marks the first time in history that the University of California will receive more of its funding from students' tuition instead of the state budget. These increases are the result of diminishing state support for all three higher education segments.

At this moment, there is no constitutional guarantee of funding for higher education -- leading to drastic cuts in higher education funding when state revenues decrease.