Even with $25.4 billion, CA’s higher ed subsidies fall short on return

This past June, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a $115.4 billion general fund budget that expanded Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented children and increased funding for state-funded preschool and universities, despite the state’s staggering debt.

While the general fund budget is $115.4 billion, the total state budget counts with an extra $45.7 billion in special fund spending and $6.5 billion in bond funds, bringing the fully enacted budget to $167.6 billion. When reporting on the total amount at hand, reporters seem to forget to factor the nearly $100 billion that flows through the state from the federal government. This extra chunk of cash is used to cover welfare services, K-12 education, and community colleges.

With a $265 billion budget, you would think that California would finally be able to provide a “free,” quality education and health services to a quarter of its 38 million residents living in poverty. But California has a history of living large, and funding for state-run higher education has been high for quite some time.

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