Initiative proposes University of California Online

The initiative would create a public online university run by the state.

A new ballot initiative would create a new state-run university that would only operate online. 

The measure would require that California create the University of California Online. 


The big picture: The University of California Online would provide online courses for credit for degrees and would be open to anyone who pays tuition. 

  • It would also provide free public access to all online courses for people to audit. 
  • Former Congressional candidate Boyd Roberts is the proponent behind the measure. 
  • Tuition for for-credit courses would be based on their cost, and there would be additional fees for out-of-state students. 
  • The State Treasurer would issue bonds to fund the University of California Online, which would be repaid from tuition. 
  • The Legislative Analyst and state Director of Finance estimate that operating a new public online university could cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars to low billions of dollars annually. All of the cost would be covered through student tuition revenue, and the estimate notes that the measure is not intended to have any direct fiscal impact on state or local governments. 

What we’re watching: Roberts and other proponents have until July 8 to gather the required 874,641 signatures to place it on the November ballot. 

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