The state of California is in deep fiscal trouble, and cuts will have to be made across the board. One sector that will see its state funding go down is higher education.
Under Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2011-12 budget proposal, the University of California, Cal State University and California Community Colleges could get $1.4 billion less from Sacramento. Because of this, the UC system will face a guaranteed $500 million cut.
It could get worse. Despite a $6.6 billion increase in state revenue, if Brown’ proposed tax extensions aren’t passed, the cut to the UC could double to $1 billion. Brown’s budget summary acknowledges these cuts, but does very little to offer any type of support. It’s up to each campus and each educational system to figure it out on its own.
The UC will increase tuition by 8 percent in the fall. If the proposed tax extensions don’t get passed, there are talks of an additional 32 percent increase. This means students at UC Davis might pay $17,303 in tuition per year. There are few ways to express our distaste for this that don’t involve offensive curse words in bold face font. But we’re a professional publication.
If these increases go through, do not blame UC President Mark Yudof and the UC Board of Regents. Cutting Yudof’s pay won’t help reduce a $1 billion cut. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t get mad – on the contrary. Get mad at people who can control the situation.
The next round of tuition increases won’t be the UC’s fault – it will be due to the total lack of accountability in Sacramento. By virtually de-funding higher education without offering any suggestions to overcome the loss, state politicians are showing how little they value education after high school.
In fairness to Brown, he did propose giving an extra $2.4 billion to K-12 education – which accounts for over 43 percent of the budget.
However, it seems that politicians feel people will still seek a public higher education regardless of the price. This is likely not the case. As the state government continues to put higher education in a bind and tuition is hiked, it wouldn’t be surprising if fewer and fewer people attend these institutions. If there are fewer people getting a college education in California today, then there are fewer people that are educated enough to run the state tomorrow.
The eventual UC tuition increase will frustrate thousands of students across the state. They will have to pay more for public education that is seemingly getting less and less public.
Even though it will be Yudof and the Regents approving the tuition increase, it’s all they can do given the lack of constructive change going on in Sacramento.