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Assembly bill asking financial transparency of UC passes into law

News, UC

Beginning Jan. 1, Assembly Bill 1655 will prohibit coordination between University of California campuses and the UC Office of the President when a state auditor requests information. (Daily Bruin file photo)

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law earlier this month aimed at making the University of California’s financial reporting process more transparent.

Assembly Bill 1655, which passed unanimously in both houses of the state legislature, adds and amends a section to the state’s education code, to prohibit coordination between UC campuses and the UC Office of the President when a state auditor requests information. The bill will take effect Jan. 1.

California State Auditor Elaine Howle accused UCOP of interfering with the state’s auditing process in April by screening campuses’ surveys responses regarding programs provided by UCOP.

The law also requires the UC to use only information that is available to the public when reporting its annual student costs. Assemblymember Tim Grayson, who proposed the bill, said in a statement he thinks the law will ensure that the state legislature has more accurate information when deciding how much to fund the UC.

Since 2014, the UC system has reported how much it costs to run each school to the state legislature every other year using costs reported from the state and UC general funds, tuition and other student fees.

The law also requires the UC to report the exact amount of money it spent the previous year.

Grayson said in a statement he proposed the bill to increase public trust in the UC system after state audits found UCOP did not disclose $175 million in its budget last spring.

UCOP spokesperson Claire Doan said the UC did not take a position on the bill.

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