Past Chancellors Call For Higher UC Tuition…
But Only If Tied to Higher Financial Aid

A historic meeting of 22 of the 29 living past Chancellors of the UC system has called for raising tuition to as high as $24,000 a year if financial aid is made available for lower income and middle class students.

The Chancellors met in July and out of their meeting wrote a letter to UC President Mark Yudof calling for the higher tuition to maintain UC’s excellence both in faculty and facilities.

At $24,000 the Chancellors indicated that UC would still be competitive with elite private institutions, particularly if it maintains its faculty and graduate student excellence. The Chancellors suggested that the $12,000 per student UC currently receives from the state should be dedicated solely to financial aid, with the increased tuition going to support operations and staffing.

“If the University of California expects to continue as one of America’s great universities — competing with such institutions as Harvard, Yale and MIT — it must have combined revenues from the state, tuition and other funds at least roughly comparable to theirs. This model will bring us closer to that goal,” the Chancellors wrote.

The Chancellors laid the blame for the current state of the UC budget at the foot of a state political system that has abandoned the idea of higher education as a public good after “decades of ballot-box budgeting, unfunded mandates and other political restrictions on the rational use of the state General Fund.” The University “can and should contribute to an informed public discussion, through academic examination of the issues by its faculty, of the risks these political realities pose to the future of California’s unparalleled system of public higher education.”

The Chancellors also raised the idea of following the lead of the University of Oregon, which has decided that its state support for higher education should be used to pay interest and amortization of an $800 million bond measure. Private fundraising would match that bond measure to create a $1.6 billion endowment that could be used to fund the University. Such an idea should be examined in California, the Chancellors said.

UC is clearly heading down a path to privatization, they concluded. That trend may start with UC’s graduate schools but spread to undergraduate education. It is a trend that will have profound impacts on the future of California, they concluded. What the Chancellors refused to support was a differentiation in tuition among the various campuses, with the most popular campuses, like Los Angeles and Berkeley, charging more for tuition, while Santa Cruz and Riverside end up charging less. The Chancellors concluded that it is not clear whether differential tuitions would actually raise more money than raising tuition across the board and whether or not the damage to the younger campuses might hurt the whole system.

Among those participating in the meeting was former UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Barbara Charlton (formerly Uehling).

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