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THE JUSTICE P OLICY INSTITUTE

4455 CONNECTICUT, S UITE B-500 WASHINGTON, DC 20008, 202-545-6870

EMBARGOED UNTIL: Contact: Laura Jones or Jason Ziedenberg


August 28, 2002 202-545-6870 or cell: 202-425-4659

Choosing Cellblocks or Classrooms: California

Report Summary: In its report on the fiscal tradeoff between state expenditures on higher
education and corrections, the Justice Policy Institute found that between 1985 and 2000, for
the nation’s states and the District of Columbia:

. The increase in states’ spending on corrections was nearly double that of the increase to
higher education ($20 billion on corrections, $10.7 billion on higher education).
. On average, the percentage increase in state spending on prisons was 6 times the
percentage increase of spending on higher education. The total change in spending on
higher education by states was 24%, compared with 166% for corrections.
. In 1999/2000, researchers estimate there were more African American men in prison
and jail (791,600) than were in higher education (603,000). Between 1980 and 2000,
JPI estimates that 3 times as many African American men were added to the prison
system than were added to the nation’s colleges and universities.

State Specific Facts—California As part of a national survey1 of the fiscal and policy choices
that were made by state government from 1985 to 2000, JPI reports the following findings from
California:

. In 1985, California spent $6.528 billion general fund dollars on higher education and
$1.674 million on corrections. By 2000, California spent $5.469 billion on higher
education and $4.748 billion on corrections. While California’s general fund
expenditures for higher education declined by –$1.059 billion during this time period, its
general fund expenditures for prisons increased by $3.074 billion.
. California decreased general fund spending on higher education by -16%, but
corrections spending grew by 184%.

1
All fiscal figures are from the National Association for State Budget Officers State Expenditure Reports,
1985; 2000, and all dollar amounts are adjusted for inflation. Since national and standardized reports of state
spending were used, there may be some variation between what State Expenditure Reports says a state
spent, versus what that state reports in other budget documents. Some estimates were used to calculate the
African American male state prison populations. Please see the methodology and notes in the full report for
a more detailed explanation of data sources.
. Between 1980 and 2000, it is estimated that 39,400 African American men were
added to California’ prisons system, while African American male enrollment in higher
education declined by -3752 in that state.

California Facts on Higher Education—Between 1992 and 2001:2


. Median family income increased 7% (from $60,650 to $65,005).
. Tuition at public two-year institutions increased 24% (from $265 to $330).
. Tuition at public four-year institutions increased 2% (from $1,858 to $1,897).
. Tuition at private four-year institutions increased 18% (from $15,301 to $18,091).
. State grant aid per student increased 56% (from $190 to $295).
. State spending on aid to low-income students equals 41% of federal Pell Grant aid
distributed in the state.

California: Total Spending Change

Since only 47% of all higher education spending in California comes from general funds, and
since the share of total higher education spending from the general fund declined during the
period, the total spending comparisons are provided.

. In 1985, California spent $10.572 billion in total on higher education and $1.971
billion on corrections. By 2000, California spent $11.606 billion in total on higher
education and $4.993 billion on corrections. While California’s total expenditure for
higher education increased by $1.033 million during this time period, its total
expenditures on corrections increased by $3.022 billion, or about three times (2.92) as
much.

. Total spending on higher education in California increased 10%, and total state
spending on corrections increased 153%. Put another way, total state spending on
corrections rose at 15 times the rate it did for total state spending on higher education.

2
All Higher Education statistics are from “Losing Ground: A National Status Report on the Affordability of
Higher Education,” by The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.