Budget Surplus Can Smooth the Path to Higher Education

by California Competes

Topics: COVID-19

This commentary, authored by California Competes Executive Director Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez, was published by CalMatters on June 25, 2021.

The state’s staggering budget surplus and historic unemployment rates illustrate the split between California’s haves and have-nots: A $76 billion chasm separates wealthy elites from underpaid workers. Vulnerable Californians were hit hard by the pandemic, and our colleges and universities must step up to help bridge this divide, especially for students forced to pause their education.

Armed with more funding from the budget surplus, higher education institutions should roll out the red carpet for a new wave of students — out-of-work Californians, underpaid essential workers, and anyone else who had to “stop out” of postsecondary education. We need to make higher education more flexible and feasible for the millions of Californians who now have the promise of new college funding on the horizon.

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