An important—though often overlooked—piece of the affordability puzzle is the way our public higher education systems are funded and how resources are allocated. Historically, when state revenues have declined, colleges have relied more heavily on tuition and fewer students have had access to a postsecondary education, with a disproportionate impact on students of color and those who face outsized financial barriers.
With a stable and effective structure for financing higher education, California can:
- Increase the number of students our systems can serve to meet current and future demand;
- Make the cost of college more affordable and allow poverty-impacted and first-generation students and families to plan ahead; and
- Support colleges and universities to center student needs as they plan for the future.
Higher education ties directly to key issue areas such as our workforce, public health, civic engagement, and our ability to solve the complex issues facing our society. It is a critical component of California’s recovery from the pandemic and recession, and remains a vital pathway to socioeconomic opportunity, mobility, and participation in an inclusive economy. There is a need to address higher education finance in the context of equitable student access and success—for students and for the state.