As students and many of its own members are already saying, the University of California’s Board of Regents is wrong to explore tuition hikes, as it plans to do this summer.
It takes money to run the world’s largest public university system. Over the past 40 years, reversing the precedent of the previous 100 years, that money has increasingly come from students and their families, not California taxpayers in general – perhaps a discussion for another time.
But that doesn’t mean that UC tuition fees aren’t already high for a public university at over $ 12,500 per year, or that tuition fees are just one of many costs for students, including room and board, books and materials and endless specials.
As Michael Burke reports to EdSource, UC executives say they need additional funding from students now “because their sources of income haven’t kept pace with the growth in first-year enrollment. university cycle. ” But student leaders rightly say this is precisely the wrong time to hit families in the wallet when so many people are suffering from the coronavirus pandemic – and when the state has a large budget surplus.
In the medium term, UC faces huge financial challenges. Curious old-timers will notice that the dormitories and salad bar offerings of student accommodation are much more sophisticated than they were in their day. Expensive bureaucracies have flourished, especially at UC headquarters in Oakland, which does not teach a single student. The university now relies on higher out-of-state tuition fees to pay the bills – with fewer admission slots for Californians.
But in the short term, making ends meet shouldn’t involve the kind of tuition hike some regents are arguing: Freshmen entering in fall 2022 would pay 2% more, an increase of $ 642. per year for residents of California. Tuition fees would then be frozen for that class of students for six years. But the proposal contains a “more inflation” clause, inviting an accounting subterfuge. Since one-third of tuition and fees are for financial aid for needy students, funders say the hike “would increase affordability.” This is an absurd claim.
UC needs to tighten its belt, pressure Sacramento and its alumni for more funding, and get Californians to pay more for college in a time of financial hardship.