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Hastings College of the Law is preparing to absorb a $300,000 cut in state funding for the current year, and other law schools in the University of California system are bracing for reductions in their outreach programs to help recruit students. On Thursday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sent a letter to legislative leaders outlining $148.8 million in proposed cuts to the 2003-04 budget. The reductions, which must be approved by the Legislature, are intended to help offset the $2.6 billion local governments lost when Schwarzenegger slashed the vehicle license registration fee. The biggest chunk of money is coming from California’s education programs. The University of California is targeted for $30 million in cuts, while the California State University system would absorb $23 million. Undergraduate students would also have a tougher time getting financial assistance. The Student Aid Commission, a separate department from the UC that focuses on undergraduate students, is slated for a $50 million cut in state funding. Hastings, which is a stand-alone affiliate of the UC system, was the only law school mentioned by name. Hastings said Schwarzenegger’s proposed $300,000 reduction represents 2.6 percent of the school’s state funding. The school’s operating cost for the current fiscal year is $32 million, said Hastings Chief Financial Officer David Seward. With the proposed reduction, the law school would receive “slightly over $11 million in state funding.” Seward said the school has not made a decision as to how it would absorb the cuts. It is considering reducing administrative costs and library acquisitions, as well as increasing student fees. “We’d like not to raise fees mid-year,” Seward said. “It’s disruptive for students and we’ve already billed for the spring semester.” Last year, Hastings was hit with a 26 percent reduction in state funding. As a result, core student fees jumped from $10,175 to $13,735. Other law schools in the UC system say they anticipate cuts in funding of their outreach programs, which help them recruit minority students. Schwarzenegger is proposing a $12 million reduction for outreach funding for the University of California and $11 million for the California State University system. “We’ve heard there will be a cut to affect our outreach program, but we haven’t quantified it yet,” said Boalt Hall School of Law interim Dean Robert Berring Jr. “It will be a real problem if we lose money.” In recent years, Berring said, Boalt has tried to recruit students from California state colleges and traditionally black colleges. “We can’t use affirmative action, so we try to increase the pool of applicants,” Berring said. Rex Perschbacher, the dean of UC-Davis’ King Hall School of Law, said his school receives several hundred thousand dollars a year in state funding for its recruitment efforts. While he had not been notified of any funding cuts, he said the campus might be able to cover any reductions for recruitment efforts. “We’ll do them until the last penny and even then with whatever other pennies are around,” Perschbacher said.

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