Newsom shows financial support for public education, coronavirus relief through proposed budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his proposed state budget for the new year to the California Legislature Friday, which included financial support for California State University’s efforts to reduce the equity gap and coronavirus relief.

 The budget would include over $144 million in continuous funding, with more than 75% going toward the general fund with the expectation that the CSU system will not change resident undergraduate tuition and fees for the 2021-22 academic year.

 The CSU system is also expected to create new policies in relation to online learning courses and programs, create a new dual admissions pathway and reduce the equity and achievement gap through programs like Graduation Initiative 2025.

 California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro said in a statement that the new budget demonstrates Newsom’s support for public higher education, which has contributed to the state’s economic prowess.

 “As demonstrated over the past several years, the state’s investment in the CSU has led to greater access and record levels of achievement for students under Graduation Initiative 2025, which in turn produces career-ready graduates in a timely manner,” Castro said in the statement.

 At least $30 million, or 20%, of the $144.5 million budget is expected to be used for basic and essential student needs, including mental health services, food and housing distress and digital equity.  

 The CSU system is also slated to receive $225 million in one-time funding, with $175 million potentially going toward campus maintenance. The remaining $30 million may be used to create financial relief grants for “full-time, low-income students,” according to the budget.

 “We appreciate this thoughtful proposed investment that will undoubtedly lead to more Californians from all backgrounds earning high-quality, life-transforming degrees and furthering the Golden State’s economic recovery,” Castro said.

 With the COVID-19 relief bill passed in December, California may also receive an extra $2.9 billion in federal funding for its higher education institutions.

 As part of Newsom’s $227.2 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, he proposed more than $14 billion to be used in response to the coronavirus pandemic to aid low-income workers and businesses, provide healthcare relief while speeding up the vaccination process in the state and reopen schools.

 To help struggling families, Newsom proposed that $2.4 billion be used to create “The Golden State Stimulus,” a tax refund of $600 that would be dispersed to California’s lowest-income taxpayers who also lost their jobs at more disproportionate rates during the past year.

 With COVID-19 vaccines arriving in California last month, the state has begun creating a plan to expedite vaccination. According to the budget, an estimated $300 million will be used for distribution of the vaccine and implementing a public awareness campaign promoting the adoption of the vaccine.

 According to campus officials, Long Beach State will begin to receive shipments of the Moderna vaccine in the coming weeks. 

Moderna’s vaccine, which must be administered in two doses injected 28 days apart, has shown to be 95% effective when administered properly. 

 The campus is developing its own vaccine distribution plan, which will prioritize health and safety personnel, followed by individuals working on campus and those with “heightened” health risks, according to the email.

 Only members of the Beach community associated with university by way of enrollment or employment will be eligible to receive a vaccine.

 There has yet to be a definitive date as to when the vaccine will be readily available to all Californians.

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