As California lawmakers wrestle over how to spend — or save — an estimated $6.1 billion budget surplus, a bipartisan coalition of legislators is pushing to spend some of the money on the state’s prized university systems, averting tuition hikes.
The proposal unveiled Monday would give the universities exactly what they are asking for: a $263 million boost in ongoing funding for California State University and $197 million for the University of California.
That’s more than double the $92 million that Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed giving to each university system.
“We’ve got to buy out these tuition increases. We’ve got to fully fund the budget requests of the California State University system and the University of California,” said Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “They are holding true to their promise to young people, but that promise has become increasingly out of reach.”
In January, amid an outcry from students and others, UC regents put on hold a proposal to hike in-state tuition by nearly $350 and out-of-state tuition by nearly $1,000. They plan to take up the proposals later this spring...