The following letter was sent to legislative leaders and the members of the budget conference committee.
This letter contains comments from the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) on some aspects of the May revise that relate to the University of California.
1) We support the provisions of the May revise related to restrictions on increases in tuition and fees for California resident students.
2) We support the four percent per year increases in base funding for UC for additional years. However this is insufficient to fund an adequate State reinvestment in public higher education in general and in UC in particular. For 2015-2016, we request an addition of at least $50 million for UC above the amount in the May revise. This can be used for increases in the enrollment of California residents, student aid to defray the real cost of attending the university, and steps to restore the quality of education including smaller class sizes, greater availability of key classes, and a lower student faculty ratio.
3) We welcome the May revise recognition of a State obligation to UC pensions and the initial funds that have been provided. We note however, that these are one time funds which can be used only to decrease the current unfunded liability of the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP). As such, these funds are modestly significant for the long run but have negligible impact on the University’s operating budget in the near term. Thus we oppose the suggestion from the Governor and the UC President that UC should make additional permanent changes in the structure of its retirement system, such as the creation of an additional tier, in exchange for this one-time contribution. We especially oppose language in the revised budget that requires the creation of a defined contribution only option. The relative merits of defined contribution and defined benefit plans were thoroughly evaluated and debated during the extended review that led to the 2010 reforms of the UCRP. The conclusion was that a defined benefit plan is the more advantageous option for both the University as an employer and for its employees.
We appreciate your consideration of these comments, and we will welcome opportunities for further discussion with legislative committees.
Acting President, Council of UC Faculty Associations
Professor of Physics Emeritus, UC Davis