The budget crisis in California is affecting just about all of us, and if you're a college student or you have kids in college or about to enter college, you know it more than anyone.
Its impact on our school systems – from elementary to higher education – has been particularly strong. Here at , we are seeing major increases in fees, not only each year, but even each quarter. The CSU system is planning to freeze enrollment next year.
A reporter at the Los Angeles Times recently wrote, “The UC plan sees tuition rising up to 16 percent annually over the next four years.” That’s not just 16% in total, that’s 16% each year, which is a total of a 64% increase in tuition costs in just four years. By that point, who will be able to afford to go to a UC school?
“We need stability,” said UC Presidents Mark G. Yudof in a meeting with the regents, as reported in the LA Times article. “We need sustainability. We need to be able to honor our commitments to our students, our employees and certainly our faculty.”
A common question, especially among protesters, has been: How drastic have the cuts been to the administrators’ salaries? In addition to the fee hikes, they often point to programs that have been cut. Four athletic teams were cut at UC Davis back in 2010.
What do you think? Given the realities of the state budget and the economy, should students expect more?
More drastic measures have been taken recently within the CSU system: if a proposed state tax is not passed, almost every school in the entire CSU system plans to freeze enrollment for the next spring. How would that affect the next wave of graduating high school students? Would they choose a UC with its rising costs, or set their sights out of state? More information on this topic can be found here.
I asked several UC Davis students what their feelings are on the current tuition hikes within the UC system, and the direction those hikes are headed. Here’s what they said:
- Sarah Gandall, a student at UC Davis, is happy to say she is “now a graduate of UC Davis (after her last final yesterday afternoon), in the most part because [my] parents won’t have to carry the burden of the rising cost of tuition. It’s ridiculous.”
- “I believe that the administration needs to take more pay cuts,” says UC Davis recent alumnus Joe Pippe. “The fact that they have to keep cutting programs and hiking up the fees shows that they are not doing enough to keep the system balanced. The university should be about the students, not only the administration.”
- UCD student Marie Calhoun responded, “I am just a freshman, and the fees are already so high. If they continue to increase at this rate, I may not be able to afford to stay at UC Davis.”
- “Pretty soon the UCs are going to cost just as much as private schools, and that is just not their purpose,” said Bridget Bugbee, a member of the UCD women’s swim team. “They are supposed to be affordable for everyone and give everyone the opportunity to go to a great school and get a great education. People at the top have gotten greedy and lost sight of this purpose.”
- I think that the increases in tuition over the past 10 years are extreme once you compare them to tuition across time, even adjusted for inflation," says swimmer Grace Benefield. " These increases put more pressure on the middle and lower classes as a college education has become more vital in order to pursue most respectable, well-paying jobs. The biggest issue I have is that because higher education has become the norm, the returns on a degree in many fields has decreased, making the expense of college worth less than the amount of debt from what it was 20 years ago."