Statement on Governor Newsom’s California Blueprint Proposal
Photo credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters
“If you’re an entrepreneur, focus on textbooks … You’ll find tremendous opportunity, great competition, which ultimately drives costs down, which is needed in this nation, not just our state.” — Governor Gavin Newsom
Originally published on 20mm.org.
Governor Newsom’s January 10, 2022, budget proposal builds on the 2021 Budget Act, which included significant investments in financial aid and supports to address student basic needs, reduce student housing costs and develop zero-text-book cost degrees, and establish child savings accounts to reduce the overall cost of attendance.
The 2022-2023 proposed budget would build upon these investments with multiyear compacts with the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) and a multiyear roundmap with the California Community Colleges (CCC) that focus on priorities benefiting students. These priorities include closing equity gaps, improving time-to-degree completion, reducing students’ total cost of attendance, increasing the predictability of student costs, increasing California resident undergraduate enrollment, improving faculty diversity, and better aligning curricula and student learning objectives with workforce needs.
During the Governor’s presentation of the California Blueprint, Newsom emphasized the continued importance of driving down textbook costs.
“We’re going after the textbook racket,” Newsom said. “You know who you are. It’s usurious and outrageous what you charge and what you’ve gotten away with … If you’re an entrepreneur, focus on textbooks … You’ll find tremendous opportunity, great competition, which ultimately drives costs down, which is needed in this nation, not just our state.”
In 2021, Governor Newsom expanded access to course materials in the California Community College System with the largest investment in textbook affordability to date through the Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Degree program. He is continuing this leadership by extending support to the California State University and University of California system to address the barriers students face while trying to afford their assigned materials.
California has been a leader in open educational resources for almost a decade, from the excellent materials created by LibreText at UC Davis to West Hills Lemoore Community College bringing open education resources into over 40% of their courses. We are thrilled to see the leaders of our state continue to prioritize affordability and access for all our students.
Maintaining his commitment to tackling affordability issues and helping students meet their basic needs, Governor Newsom’s budget includes $100 million for student success completion grants for students at the CCC. In addition, the Governor continues to address student housing insecurity and homelessness by allocating $750 million for student housing, part of a three-year, $2 billion investment to ensure California’s higher education systems can provide students with affordable accommodations.
“We are inspired by Governor Newsom’s bold leadership in prioritizing the needs of students in the areas of textbook costs and basic needs,” Dr. Gary Michelson remarked. “As a foundation, the Michelson 20MM Foundation has been at the forefront of championing programs and policies that make college more affordable, and we are committed to working with the Governor and our public higher education systems to put the needs of students first.”
Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation seeking to accelerate progress towards a more just world through grantmaking, operating programs, and impact investing. Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.