How much funding would it take to create a “stable” university?
I believe that the key to a financially stable university is not a specific dollar amount as much as it is a predictable, consistent level of support year after year.
Virtually all of us at UC Davis – faculty, staff and students – have felt the impact of the continually declining level of state support. If the governor’s proposed UC funding levels for 2011-2012 are reflected in the state’s final budget, our campus’ state support will have declined by almost 40 percent over four years. And the reductions will be even greater if the governor’s proposed tax extensions do not win voter approval.
Given this dramatic decline in state support over a relatively short time, we have had to make many difficult decisions, including the adoption of substantial student fee increases and employee layoffs, that taken together create a sense of instability. This environment of uncertainty, driven by the funding roller coaster, carries a high price. The declining – and unpredictable – levels of state support for the university wreak havoc on students and their families, who must struggle to cover the cost of attending UC Davis, campus efforts to plan for our growth and progress and campus operations.
To respond, we are making fundamental, structural changes in how we do business. We want to better serve our students and achieve our Vision of Excellence (vision.ucdavis.edu) – the framework that articulates our vision for UC Davis to become a recognized leader in innovation at the intersections of the world’s most challenging issues – even in the face of declining state support. But for our efforts to succeed, it is tremendously important that the state commit to a predictable level of funding for UC so that we can all plan. This is what it will take to create the stability we need to preserve the pillars on which UC Davis and its sister campuses rest: excellence, affordability and access.
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