Issue update: UC Admissions & Public Safety
UC Admissions & Public Safety
My February newsletter won’t be out for a couple of weeks, but I wanted to touch base with you on two subjects that I hear a lot about in our communities – the ability of California students to enroll at a University of California (UC) campus and public safety.
One of my priorities has been increasing access to higher education for all Californians. As a result of my bill last year, people can now attend all three of our wonderful San Mateo Community College campuses without having to pay any tuition or fees.
Another one of my higher education priorities is to provide California students with better access to our world-renowned UC system and there is some good news here. Thanks to the Legislature and the Governor, we have once again begun prioritizing the enrollment of California residents over out-of-state and international applicants. As a result, this past fall the UC admitted a record number of California applicants – 85,268 – while out-of-state admissions dropped by 19% and international admissions dropped by 12% when compared to 2021.
At three of the system’s largest schools – UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UCSD – we increased enrollment of California students by 300 at each campus and the plan is for that level of growth to continue at each campus over each of the next four years. The budget released by Governor Newsom on January 10 provides for a 5% funding increase – about $215.5 million – for the UC system that will ensure more Californians are enrolled into the system. As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I plan to keep a focus on funding the UC, California State University (CSU), and community college systems.
Overall, the UC system is looking to add as many as 33,000 new California students – the equivalent of a brand new campus – in the next eight years through a combination of reducing out-of-state and international enrollees, creating satellite locations, and offering more courses online
These changes come after last year’s state budget awarded $98.8 million to UC to prioritize the enrollment growth of California residents, who pay about $30,000 less each year in tuition than out-of-state students do.
As for the 23-campus CSU system, the Governor proposed increasing its overall budget by 5%, which amounts to about $227.3 million. And over the last two years we expanded CSU Humboldt to become the state’s newest California Polytechnic campus (the other two are in Pomona and San Luis Obispo). It now offers nine new degree programs, including data science, applied fire science and management, cannabis studies and software engineering – all areas where we need to see more home-grown graduates entering the workforce. As a result of changing to a Cal Poly campus, freshman applications at Humboldt nearly doubled – up a whopping 86% and transfer and master’s degree applications have increased as well.
Crime & Public Safety
One issue that will be on the Legislature’s radar this year is crime and public safety. While statistics show that overall crime is down, the reality is poll after poll shows people don’t always feel safe, and locally, social media is full of reports of thefts and car break-ins. When a criminal invades your life or the life of someone you know, it’s natural to feel as if efforts to thwart crime are not where they should be.
Far too often the issue devolves into finger-pointing about who is “responsible” when things go wrong. Is it the Legislature that writes the laws? The police who enforce the laws? The prosecutors who charge criminals under the law?
In 2022, I held a roundtable discussion with local mayors, police chiefs in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, crime victims, and local community leaders to discuss public safety and how we can improve in the community.
One topic we discussed was catalytic converter theft. Nationally, it has jumped from about 1,300 in 2018 to more than 52,200 in 2021 – and more than one-third of those thefts happen here in California, making us the top target in the nation.
On January 1, two bills I was proud to support took effect that should serve as a big step forward in deterring catalytic converter theft:
For more information on how you can discourage catalytic converter thefts, along with some crime prevention advice, check out these tips put together by the South San Francisco Police Department.
On January 7, I was honored to speak to an overflow crowd of well-wishers who came to the College of San Mateo to see Christina Corpus be inaugurated as the first female Sheriff in San Mateo County history. I’ll talk a little bit more about the Sheriff in next month’s newsletter, but I am very excited about her embrace of innovative crime-fighting technologies and techniques, her work to attract and retain quality officers, and her commitment to safeguarding the mental health of her officers and our community.
Finally, as a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I’ll be reviewing proposals to provide additional money to local law enforcement agencies to battle retail thefts and other crimes. Over the past three years, the state has committed nearly $565 million to help local agencies create anti-theft task forces, improve prosecution efforts, combat the growing prevalence of fentanyl, and improve emergency response times, but clearly more needs to be done.