Changes to the California's public higher-education system will affect large number of students of color attending any of the Golden State's approximately 145 public colleges and universities.
California Gov. Jerry Brown's budget, released earlier this month, moderately increases state spending on higher ed and freezes tuition for the next four years. The budget also encourages state colleges and universities to rein in costs, increase graduation rates, and reduce the amount of time it takes students to earn a degree.
Although Brown's changes haven't been framed as a minority issue per se, they will affect many students of color across the state.
In California, "almost anything you do to the higher-education system one way or another is going to affect students of color," said Patrick Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute in San Jose, Calif. "I would say these are modest constructive initiatives that will help California students and certainly will help students of color - especially if we make sure we can serve more students at a reasonable cost."
In 2011, 68.2 percent of the students in the University of California system were nonwhite, as were 67.6 percent enrolled at California State University schools, according to university statistics (together, student enrollment in the two state systems exceeded 603,000). That's up from 61.4 percent and 62.1 percent at UC and CSU, respectivel,y in 2002. Specific to Hispanics, with California having the nation's highest population, in 2011, 29.3 percent of students at CSU were Hispanic, as were 16.6 percent of UC students.