Proposal to Create University of California Online Could Generate Hundreds of Millions of Dollars 

Tanu Henry, Magaly Muñoz and Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media  

      As of the time this news brief was written, the Secretary of State (SOS) of California had not yet declared it eligible, but a proposal to establish the University of California Online (UCO) as its own semi-autonomous institution may appear on the Nov. 5, 2024, ballot as an “initiated constitutional amendment.” 

      Last week, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) released its analysis of the measure that will create the UCO as an institution administered by the University of California (UC). 

      In a letter to Attorney General Rob Bonta, the LAO said creating the virtual university exposes the state to some financial costs and risks initially, but California could generate hundreds of millions of dollars to “low billions of dollars” in revenue every year. 

      If the measure’s sponsors meet all the SOS’ requirements and the initiative makes it to the ballot, voters will have the option to approve UCO as an online university that has its own president, faculty, academic senate, budget and endowment. The Board of Regents would have the authority to appoint the virtual school’s president. 

      The initiative also proposes that UCO offers an online version of every course the University of California, California State University (CSU) and Community Colleges of California (CCC) lists in their catalogs to in-state and out-of-state students either on a for-credit or audit basis. In both cases, tuition would be charged.

      “All of the cost is to be covered through student tuition revenue generated by the new university,” wrote the LAO in its letter to Bonta. “The measure is not intended to have any direct fiscal impact on state or local governments.” 

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