Students study outside their classes on the University of California at Irvine campus on Monday, Oct. 27, 2008 in Irvine, Calif.
The very-late budget deal -- just approved by the state legislature -- has tons of bad news. But also a clear and somewhat surprising winner: higher education.
The University of California and the California State University system typically lose in budget negotiations because they don't have the same kind of voter-approved protections for their state funding that exist for K-14 education, local governments and transportation. Estimates are the university systems will receive $500 million more.
There's an interesting campaign context: Meg Whitman has been pledging $1 billion more for higher education, so this amounts of half of that. And without the commensurate cuts in welfare programs she says she would make. But Whitman can make the argument that the current governor and legislature are already moving in her direction.