Council Task Force Developing Innovative “Rebenching” Plan
The Academic Council Task Force charged with developing an actionable plan grounded in the report of Council’s Special Committee on a Plan for the University of California (the “Powell Commission”) has forwarded an excerpt of its draft report to the President’s Budget Rebenching Committee, a joint Administration-Senate body charged with proposing a methodology for allocating state funds to the campuses.
The excerpt outlines short, medium, and long-term options for managing the budget gap, enrollment, and cost per undergraduate student. It also proposes a new way of determining the true number of students the state is funding, as well as a formula for rebenching the proportion of state general funds each campus receives, introducing a common state subsidy per student across UC campuses.
Senate Chair Dan Simmons says the Senate views the “Funding Streams” proposal as the first step in the process of increasing the transparency of UC’s budget allocations. He says “rebenching” the formulas for distributing enrollment funding is the logical next step. Any views about enrollment policy depend on establishing agreements for rebenching the enrollment growth formulas. He said he expects Council to review the full Implementation Task Force report later this year.
“Without specifically endorsing the recommendations or methodology proposed in the paper, Council agreed to forward the paper for consideration by the Rebenching Committee. While the Council endorsed in principle the recommendations as a framework for allocating state funds for undergraduate education, the Council has not endorsed the excerpt or the full report itself as Senate policy.”
Implementation Task Force Chair James Chalfant says the Task Force began with the principle that under rebenching, every resident undergraduate should receive the identical state subsidy, regardless of his or her campus. UC’s assessment of the cost of delivering quality education should define the amount of the subsidy, rather than accepting a calculation based on the funding available from the state divided by the number of enrolled resident undergraduates.
“The report proposes a mechanism for adjusting resident enrollment targets, calls for preserving a strong central role in enrollment management, and includes a section on faculty teaching titles, responding to a proposal that UC define a new faculty job title that requires more teaching and less research,” Chalfant says. “It will also address alternatives for funding graduate education. The rebenching outcome needs to support graduate education without locking in the current differences between campuses. The targets for undergraduate enrollments will require some flexibility over time, as campuses expand non-resident enrollments, and targets for graduate enrollments must accommodate the expansion of graduate programs on those campuses still seeking to expand. At the same time, the targets must guarantee that UC enrolls all of the undergraduate residents for whom the state has provided funding. The Senate has long recommended that UC reduce the number of over-enrolled students, so the rebenching framework also will help address this issue.”