SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Clean up your act or pay— that’s what Gov. Jerry Brown is telling the University of California, in response to a scathing audit revealing millions of dollars in secret reserves at the UC system.
Brown is withholding $50 million from the UC system after a state audit found administrators hid $175 million in a secret account while asking students for more tuition money.
Vanessa Deanda is a Uc Davis freshman paying for college out of her pocket. She worked hard to save, waitressing during high school. But she and her friends say it’s now the school’s job to serve the students.
“Make sure that money goes back to the students,” said her friend.
Brown took the first step in seeking transparency, in his revised budget plan, by withholding $50 million from the UC system, until it cleans up its act.
“So we can hold their feet to the fire,” said Brown.
“What does that mean he’s withholding $50 million, and what’s he doing with it?” said Vanessa.
The State Department of Finance says the money will come from the UC general fund, and would not have been spent on students.
That $50 million is just over 1 percent of the overall annual UC budget of $3.7 billion.
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, who called for the audit, says he’d like to see the UC’s redirect funds to expand enrollment, so more California kids go to college, in place of foreign students.
“If we can, for example, find $50 million of efficiencies at the UC, those are slots slots for 5,000 kids to go to UC,” he said.
To get the money back, the UC system would have to take steps to balance its budget over the next year.
But Vanessa says that doesn’t do much for her bottom line. She’d like to see a reversal of the recent tuition hike.
Lawmakers say that, too, is on the table.
“The most important thing is for tuition to be lowered,” she said.
The finance department says the UC system has until May of next year to make progress.