Governor Gavin Newsom visited CSUN on Wednesday to sign seven bills into law that represent a historic funding increase for higher education in California.

At the university’s Student Recreation Center, Newsom joined CSUN President Erika D. Beck, California State University Chancellor Joseph Castro and a host of elected officials in celebrating the $47.1 billion higher education package that is designed to ease the path to a four-year degree for community college transfer students, support more affordable student housing and expand financial aid, among other programs.

“This is a proud day,” Newsom said. “At the end of the day, there is no economic development strategy without a workforce development strategy. There is no equation to address the issue of income and wealth disparity unless we provide opportunities and great pathways to close those gaps.

“We’re investing in our conveyer belt for talent, the CSU,” the governor said. “We’re investing in that conveyer belt for talent, the community colleges — that front door for two-thirds of those that enter higher education. We’re investing in that conveyer belt for talent, the UC system. We’re investing in each and every one of you.”

Newsom spoke to a crowd of about 200 people — primarily CSUN students — and praised their resilience during the pandemic and tenacity to complete their college degrees.

Chancellor Castro lauded the new legislation and the impact it will make, especially on transfer students, who will now have streamlined pathways to transfer from community colleges to the CSU and UC campuses. These will include new transfer programs in engineering, business and other in-demand majors such as computer science, biology, chemistry and physics — critical to the state’s future workforce, the chancellor said.

“I’m happy to be here at CSU Northridge, and I am thrilled and honored to be with you on what is truly a historic day for higher education in California,” Castro said. “We will open the doors for thousands and thousands more students, especially those coming from historically underserved communities, who seek the lifelong and life-transforming benefits of a high-quality, four-year college degree. These students are California’s emerging leaders, and this is California’s sustained social and economic vitality.”

The chancellor thanked Newsom and The Campaign for College Opportunity, the nonprofit that sponsored and advocated on behalf of the legislation. The organization’s president, Michele Siqueiros, also spoke at the event.

CSUN Associated Students President Jonathan Hay, who opened the program and introduced Chancellor Castro, welcomed the dignitaries and audience to CSUN, and he thanked the state leaders for their commitment to generations of California students — current and future.

“I am delighted and honored for CSUN to be the host campus for this special announcement,” Hay said. “Our campus is so richly diverse and supports students from all walks of life. With over half of our new students transferring from community college and our designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution, CSUN is leading the way toward a brighter and more equitable future.”

Elected officials who spoke at the event also included Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), state Assemblymembers Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino), Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), and state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles). State Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) also joined in the bill-signing ceremony.

“Remarkable things are still happening here in the state of California,” Newsom concluded before gathering with the CSUN Cheer Team and a crowd of students for selfies. “I’m proud of California, and I’m proud to be governor, signing these seven critically important bills. Thank you, Northridge!”

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