Saturday, November 24, 2012

UC-R Students’ Tuition Plan: Media Coverage But Lack of UC Enthusiasm

UC administrator?  UC Regent?

Blog readers may recall that some UC-Riverside students came up with a proposal to have “free” tuition at UC in exchange for a tax on graduates’ future incomes.  This idea has actually been around for some time but more typically at the federal level, i.e., a program involving all universities. 

There are a variety of issues such as the lack of a cash flow immediately until the future graduates begin being taxed.  If such a plan were done only for one university system in one state, there are enforcement issues.  How would the tax be collected from graduates who moved out of state and didn’t pay California income tax?  Could there be federal cooperation?   

In short, the idea applied just to UC is not a simple proposal.  Nonetheless, the Regents claimed – when the Riverside proposal first surfaced – to be interested.  But at their September retreat when all sorts of unusual ideas were batted around (e.g., give the parking services to the pension fund), I don’t recall that the Riverside plan came up for discussion.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise has some coverage of the plan in its latest incarnation and says that UC has “participated” in looking at the plan but it does not seem have lent much support:

…Although UC officials have participated in those discussions, they say they have not been convinced that the plan is viable.  In March, the student group issued a revised proposal, addressing some of the initial questions surrounding the idea. The 5 percent that would come out of graduates’ paychecks would apply only to those making more than $30,000 annually, and it would be applied only to the first $200,000 in yearly income…

“Frankly, it doesn’t seem like a viable option for UC right now,” (UC spokesperson Steve) Montiel said. “It’s something we’ve looked at, but it’s hard to see how it could be done with a single university (system).” Montiel said if UC schools were the only ones offering such a pay model, they very well might be flooded by applicants from across the country, particularly those in lower-paying fields. He said officials also are concerned about the logistics of being able to collect from graduates. It would require the involvement of the federal government…

A video accompanies the story:

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