Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Still more media focus on CA higher ed
A California resident in 1960 could earn a bachelor’s degree at the world-class University of California, or UC, for just $60 per semester in “incidental fees” — about $500 in today’s currency. That same year, the state adopted a master plan for higher education: The UC would serve the top eighth of graduating high school seniors while the top third would be eligible to attend a CSU campus and the community colleges would be open to all.
The goal, writes historian John Aubrey Douglass, was “broad access combined with the development of high quality, mission differentiated, and affordable higher education institutions.”
But in the coming decades, politicians of both parties would respond to economic downturns by cutting higher education funding, causing tuition to rise. The trend peaked during the recession that began in 2008, when UC hiked undergraduate tuition by nearly a third in a single year.
The price of undergraduate tuition and fees, when adjusted for inflation, has increased sixfold in the last 40 years at the University of California and is 15 times higher at California State campuses, according to the independent California Budget and Policy Center.
Only one student in 10 graduates in four years at Cal State Los Angeles, and fewer than one in five at nine of the system’s other campuses.
In a poll of likely voters by the Public Policy Institute of California, 53% said the higher education system was going in the wrong direction, and 56% that an education was growing less affordable.
The upshot? Like many states, California is behind in its progress toward a goal of increasing the proportion of adults with a college or university credential, according to the Lumina Foundation, which tracks this; today, fewer than half of its adults have one, short of the target of 60% by 2030 set by the advocacy group the Campaign for College Opportunity. (Lumina is one of the many funders of The Hechinger Report, which co-produced this story.)
“That number gets a lot of play across the street,” said Jake Jackson, a Sacramento-based research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, or PPIC, gesturing toward the state Capitol.
At the same time, California’s student population has changed in ways that foreshadow national trends, becoming more ethnically diverse, with growing numbers coming from low-income families in which they are the first to go to college. No racial or ethnic group constitutes a majority in the state; 39% of residents are Hispanic, 38% are white, 14% are Asian and 6% are black. More than a quarter are immigrants...
Full article at https://calmatters.org/education/higher-education/2019/12/can-california-save-higher-education/