Governor Newsom Signs Legislation to Ensure Access for Incoming UC Berkeley Students

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today signed legislation to ensure students in the incoming class at UC Berkeley can enroll on campus this fall. A recent court order could have forced UC Berkeley to shut the door on thousands of potential college freshmen and transfer students, disproportionately impacting students from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds. “I’m grateful to the Legislature for moving quickly on this critical issue – it sends a clear signal that California won’t let lawsuits get in the way of the education and dreams of thousands of students, our future leaders and innovators,” said Governor Newsom. Governor Newsom today signed SB 118, which ensures that student enrollment at a college campus is not singled out as a project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), while preserving requirements that campus long-range development plans are comprehensively reviewed for environmental impacts. This legislation comes in addition to Governor Newsom’s amicus brief filed in the case, arguing that the California Supreme Court should block a lower court’s order capping enrollment because the order would undermine critical priorities of the state.  The state, consistent with the Governor’s budget priorities, has made historic investments in higher education, including a total of $47.1 billion in the last enacted budget. Expanding college access is the keystone of the higher education vision, with the state supporting expanded enrollment of nearly 5,000 full-time equivalent students within the UC system and nearly 10,000 full-time equivalent students within the California State University system in the 2019-20 budget. The state also invested $2 billion to build thousands of units of affordable student housing – earlier this month, the Administration recommended the first $480 million be used to create affordable housing for 3,545 students of public colleges and universities. The Governor’s California Blueprint proposal builds upon these priorities by expanding access to education at all levels, with a focus on expanding enrollment for in-state residents and community-college transfers at the UC System, including UC Berkeley. The proposed expansion of access to California’s world-class higher education system includes the following:

  • For the UC system, beginning in 2023-24 and through 2026-27, increasing California resident undergraduate enrollment by more than 7,000, with a significant portion of the new enrollment growth occurring at UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, and UC San Diego – tracking demand from prospective students and families.
  • For the CSU system, beginning in 2023-24 and through 2026-27, increasing California resident undergraduate enrollment by more than 14,000.

In turn, both systems have committed – in exchange for historic investments – to close equity gaps in graduation, expand access for transfer students, create debt-free pathways, and increase by 25 percent the number of students in fields related to climate action, health care, education, and technology. Governor Newsom also signed the following bill today: SB 119 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) – Budget Act of 2021. For full text of the bills, visit: