Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Like we said, it's a negotiation

We have been urging our blog readers to think of the budget-tuition affair at the regents as a negotiation (or at least an invitation to the governor to negotiate rather than pontificate).  Negotiations don't necessarily produce happy endings but they can.

A negotiation involves proposals and counter-proposals.  It tends to heat up as a "deadline" approaches.  In the case of the regents meeting, the deadline is essentially the session this afternoon when the proposal is discussed (or possibly the session tomorrow when it is scheduled for approval).  We now have a counter-proposal in the Sacramento Bee from the legislature (from assembly speaker Toni Atkins).  We again urge readers not to assume that proposals are the final positions.  In a negotiation, it is common to ask for more than you expect to get.  One complication in this negotiation is that we don't know if Atkins and the governor think of themselves on the same team - or whether a three-way process is involved.

University of California President Janet Napolitano has proposed a tuition increase that could ultimately boost tuition costs at UC by as much as 25 percent over five years. That’s unacceptable. California students and their families have faced too many increases already.
Instead, UC should work with the Legislature and the governor to get UC the money it needs to remain one of the state’s world-class assets without harming the California students and families the university was created to serve.

The UC Board of Regents is to discuss the tuition plan Wednesday. Here is what I propose instead:

▪ Reject all tuition increases for California students, including Napolitano’s proposal.
▪ Provide an additional $50 million from the state general fund. There has to be additional state funding for UC, and budget projections show we have the resources to honor the state’s commitment to higher education. The California State University system, which has not proposed raising tuition, would also receive additional state funds to increase student services to reduce time to graduate, as well as to increase enrollment.
▪ Increase Cal Grants to lessen the financial burden of higher education on lower income families.
▪ Require UC to maintain all existing institutional aid to students to ensure that students benefit from the increase in Cal Grants.
▪ Accelerate the implementation of the Middle Class Scholarship to cut fees for middle-income families by more than 20 percent in 2015-16.
▪ Double the proposed increase of California students to 10,000 over five years by adding enrollments of 2,000 per year for five years, and ensure California student enrollments increase at all UC campuses.
▪ Cap enrollments of out-of-state students at 2014-15 levels. The Great Recession has ended, and funds have been restored to the UC, so the time has come to end the practice of backfilling state cuts with students who pay out-of-state tuition and push out California students. Capping out-of-state enrollments also allows UC to focus its outreach resources on the diverse underserved communities in California. Keeping fees low helps show families in these communities that a UC education is in reach.
▪ Increase tuition for out-of-state students by $5,000 a year, which is still well below other prominent public universities. The increased revenues will help fund enrollments of California students and keep their tuition from increasing.
▪ UC should adopt the pension reforms for new employees contained in the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013.
▪ UC also needs to ensure Californians are getting the most for our money by increasing the amount of teaching that is required and limiting increases in executive compensation...

Full article at

One possible outcome would be for some kind of special committee of regents, the Dept. of Finance and governor, and legislative leaders to come up with a mutually-accepted proposal for approval at the January regents meeting. Much depends on whether the governor is prepared to step back from his posture at past regents meetings where he lectures on fiscal affairs and whatever comes to his mind (and the regents act like supplicants in response).  Napolitano knows he can't appear just to roll over.  So some face-saving room for him would be appropriate.  But there has to be some behavioral change.

Read more here:

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