I write today regarding the condition of the state budget and what that means for UC Hastings. As the first law school of the American West, with a unique independent status, our law school traditionally received the overwhelming majority of its revenue directly from the State of California. Even as recently as a decade ago, we continued to receive most of our funding from public sources.
Earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown delivered his proposed 2012-13 budget to the State Legislature for consideration. In his official address, he noted that California's fiscal condition is improving, albeit gradually. A year ago, the state faced an immediate $26.6 billion deficit and future estimated annual budget gaps of $20 billion. This year, the state faces a $9.2 billion budget problem and future annual budget gaps of roughly $5 billion.
Governor Brown's budget proposal for 2012-13 reflects these positive developments. Funding for UC Hastings has been effectively stabilized at the current year level. Although the Governor's proposal shows a nominal increase of $1.8 million, this increase is fully offset by a corresponding transfer of $1.8 million in costs related to past General Obligation bond debt service payments. This change will affect our ability to undertake future capital improvements as well.
While the preservation of current funding levels is indeed welcomed, we will still be called upon to stand up on behalf of our students and their families to preserve our shared commitment to providing a legal education that is accessible to all. I have renewed confidence in the American Dream of higher education and take every opportunity that is presented to explain that the rule of law -- which requires training lawyers and judges -- is a public good rather than a private one.
Toward that ideal, our students are our best advocates. I express my gratitude to every student who has spoken out about the benefits of their education.
We are committed to providing as much financial aid as our budget will support. UC Hastings gives more than $13 million in grants to students in a typical year. I work with our Advancement Office to secure the private support that is crucial to our success. We have so many graduates who recognize the value of the investment they made, whether fifty or five years ago, and who attribute their professional success to the degree they earned at UC Hastings.
We are only at the start of the budget cycle. I will continue to keep you apprised of developments. Thank you for being part of a community that cares about a great institution.
-Frank H. Wu, Chancellor and Dean
University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco is redefining legal education through our experiential, interdisciplinary, and international approach to the law. We integrate rigorous academics with hands-on practice, preparing our graduates to tackle the legal challenges—and leverage the opportunities—of the 21st century.
UC Hastings. Made in San Francisco. Ready for the World.