Thursday, May 14, 2015

Legislative Grumbles

Where they went for lunch after the hearing
Lawmakers slammed the University of California on Wednesday for spending $32 million last year to provide financial aid to out-of-state and international students. While only a small portion of the university’s multibillion-dollar operations, the money hits at a deep mistrust that has developed between the state and UC during a combative budget process over the last six months.

“It’s just alarming, puzzling and sort of unbelievable that you would spend $32 million on this population that supposedly is supporting itself,” Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said during a UC budget hearing. “This type of action doesn’t give me any confidence that we should be giving UC additional resources.”

...UC officials say nonresidents are a financially self-sustaining group, whose tuition subsidizes about 9,000 Californians not funded by the state, as well as tutoring, academic advising and student wellness programs that would have otherwise been cut or scaled back. But the university acknowledged Wednesday that out-of-state students are also eligible for institutional aid. A third of all tuition revenue automatically goes to UC’s financial aid pool, said associate president and chief policy adviser Nina Robinson. Nonresidents who qualify under a federal formula may receive some of that to help with tuition and living expenses, though they are on the hook for the entire out-of-state fee.
“The question that is relevant here is whether it’s fair to ask them to contribute a third of a small portion of their tuition to our institutional aid program and not allow them to be eligible to receive benefits from it,” Robinson said. “Nonresidents make a very large contribution into the system and get a small portion back,” she added. “So we can argue about whether that’s right, but the fact is that California students are benefiting from that nonresident money that is going into the aid.”...

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, was not convinced... “There are plenty of fish in the sea that can pay full freight,” McCarty said. “We’re not elected to expand education for low-income kids from Nevada. We’re elected to help expand access for Californians. That’s what’s so frustrating.”...

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