State Senate Democrats are proposing a number of changes designed to get more people into and through California’s universities. The changes include canceling a proposed tuition increase at the University of California for resident students and increasing tuition for non-residents by 17 percent. Some California State University students would receive a cash incentive to finish their degrees within four years.
Senator Marty Block says the average CSU student takes about six years to graduate.
"By getting out two years earlier we increase the workforce that California needs," he says. "In addition, by getting out two years earlier, they free up space in our institutions."
Senate President Kevin de Leon says it’s a good investment.
"If we can provide efficiencies and get folks to graduate on a timely fashion, which is something that’s never been dealt with the Cal State system in particular, and we can provide value and more bang for the buck and stretch tax payer dollars in a more intelligent way, I think it becomes a win-win situation," he says.
The Senate proposal also calls for creating 5,000 additional student slots at UC and 10,500 at CSU. The Senators say if graduation rates don’t increase at California universities, the state will have shortfall of one million college graduates by 2025.
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins has proposed a plan to eliminate tuition increases at UC and increase funding for UC and CSU. Governor Jerry Brown has opposed efforts to increase funding for the universities beyond what he’s allocated in the budget. He also opposes UC tuition increases.