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California Legislature

After scathing audit, UC will have to be more transparent in reporting costs

Monica Lozano, left, chair of the University of California Board of Regents, and UC President Janet Napolitano (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Monica Lozano, left, chair of the University of California Board of Regents, and UC President Janet Napolitano (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a law that will require the University of California to be more transparent in how it reports costs and how it deals with the state auditor, a measure that was introduced in the wake of a scathing audit of the UC president's office this spring.

The audit found that the UC Office of the President failed to disclose up to $175 million in budget reserve funds, even as the system looked to lawmakers and tuition hikes for more money.

Records showed that surveys sent to individual campuses as part of the audit were altered after consultation with the president's office, raising concerns of interference in the audit by the top office.

The new law will prohibit UC campuses from coordinating with the president's office when the state auditor requests information.

The measure, AB 1655 by Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D-Concord), also will require UC to use publicly available financial information when it publishes its biennial report on the costs of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

That report, which is required by law, is meant to demystify how much the campuses are spending on instruction and research. But a 2016 state audit found that the reports were "problematic because the source of the data it uses is not apparent, and it does not tie the costs and funding it reported to readily available and public financial data, such as its audited annual financial report."

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