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Report 93-2: Expenditures for University Instruction: A Report to the Governor and Legislature in Response to Supplemental Report Language for the 1991 Budget Act

Published by The California Postsecondary Education Commission

April 1993

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To understand how California's public colleges and universities compare to other institutions in terms of their instructional costs, in 1991 the California Legislature called on the California Postsecondary Education Commission to analyze "the total costs to the state of the instructional mission in the three segments of public higher education, in comparison, to the extent possible, with comparable public and private institutions in California and nationally".

The Commission decided that to define the study narrowly in terms of focusing only on the State's costs associated with instruction would squander a valuable opportunity to view the costs of California's colleges and universities in the context of the economics of higher education nationally. Thus it undertook a wide-range study of State and institutional expenditures for instruction, using comparative data from other states and institutions wherever possible. It recognized that different definitions of costs are useful for different purposes, and in light of these different purposes, it decided to employ several of them in the study, without prejudice to any of them.

This report constitutes the Commission's response to the Legislature. Part One summarizes the most important finding and definitions used in the study. Part Two explains the origins and background of the study and reports the average and marginal cost per student appropriated by the State to support instruction in the California State University and University of California. Part Three describes the Commission's general approach to the study. Parts Four and Five detail findings on the per-student instructional expenditures for the California State University and the University of California, respectively, and compares those expenditures with two sets of comparison institutions. (1) universities used for faculty salary comparisons, and (2) a national group of universities who have institutional missions similar to those of the University and State University. Part Six traces changes in State appropriations from 1989-90 (the most recent year for which expenditure information needed in this study are available) through 1992-93 in order to underscore the changes in State support for instruction over the past three years -- a time of severe revenue constraints for states resulting from national recessionary pressures. Part Seven describes planned next steps in the Commission's studies of instructional costs and institutional financing. The appendices describe the origins and methodology of the study.

The Commission adopted this report at it meeting on April 19, 1993, on recommendation of it Fiscal Policy and Analysis Committee.

Related Topics: Enrollment Demand and Capacity Analysis | Budgeting and Financing of Higher Education

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