Want more say over UC? Pay up (excerpts)
The lawmakers outraged over tuition hikes are partly responsible for them by presiding over a sustained decline in public support for higher education.
By Gary Fethke and Andrew Policano
December 22, 2010, LA Times
As The Times notes in its Dec. 17 editorial, California legislators -- who increased state funding to the University of California system this year in exchange for greater control over finances -- are incredulous over the university's recent tuition increases. Their outrage is ill-informed. While they complain about rising costs, they fail to recognize that what has changed dramatically is not the cost of higher education but rather who pays -- the student or the taxpayer. Some realities:
The real cost of educating a student in the UC system has declined by nearly 20% over the last decade. The portion of the cost for a student in the UC system that is paid for by the state has fallen from 78% to 46% over the last decade. Any qualified applicant to the UC system who is a California resident and whose family earns below $70,000 can attend for free.
...It is paradoxical that the very individuals who have contributed to the rise in tuition by budgeting less public money for higher education are now complaining about the effects on students and parents of tuition increases. What, did legislators think they could decrease their share public education funding by more than 50% and not have an effect? How does the Legislature think the UC system should react when such a large hole is left in its budget?
...The Legislature and university must determine together the level of quality that can be supported using the available combination of private and public funding. In the end, if the Legislature truly wants to participate in a discussion about higher education, its members need to consider seriously whether or not they will continue to play a diminishing role in funding a high-quality university system.
Gary Fethke is a professor of management sciences and economics at the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business. Andrew Policano is dean of UC Irvine's Paul Merage School of Business, where he is also a professor of economics. They are writing a book entitled, "Public No More: The New Path to Excellence for America's Public Universities."
Put another way:
UPDATE: In a tweet of Dec. 24 on his Twitter account, President Yudof provides a link to the op ed above and terms it "an insightful article."