The Liaison Committee on Medical Education has decided to withhold preliminary accreditation for UC-Riverside's proposed medical school because the state has not committed to providing recurring funding for the school, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
University officials said the decision means the planned 2012 opening of the medical school could be delayed to 2013. The school has 30 days to appeal the committee's decision (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/8).
In 2008, the UC Board of Regents approved the creation of a medical school to boost the academic reputation of UC-Riverside and alleviate a physician shortage in the area (Gordon, Los Angeles Times, 6/9).
Establishing the medical school is expected to cost about $500 million. The university is seeking an initial $100 million upfront investment from the state and an additional $50 million in public investment by 2012.
So far, UC-Riverside has received $10 million from the state and has raised more than $30 million in private donations for the medical school. In addition, Riverside County has allocated $10 million in its budget to help open the medical school.
Need for Recurring Funding
Timothy White, UC-Riverside chancellor, said the medical school will need a commitment of steady state funding to receive its accreditation. He added that the school will need about $15 million annually over its first few years.
White said, "The decision at this point whether to go forward or not go forward resides with the state of California. The lack of recurring commitment from the state is the basis alone not to provide preliminary accreditation."
University and county officials are likely to encounter challenges as they work to secure continuous state funding for the medical school. California currently faces a multibillion-dollar budget deficit, prompting lawmakers to consider cuts to higher education funding (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/8).