Sunday, January 19, 2014

What a DC Fly on the Wall Probably Didn't Hear

UC prez Napolitano attended her former boss's conference on higher ed in DC last week.  From the LA Times:

Obama encourages economic diversity in higher education: 
The president and first lady are joined at a White House summit by others who have made commitments to help increase college accessibility for low-income students. California schools are well represented.

More than 100 colleges and universities, including several in California, promised Thursday to try to attract more low-income students by strengthening relationships with high schools and community colleges, increasing access to advisors and offering more remedial programs...

Each of the nine University of California undergraduate campuses will expand outreach to low-income high school and community college students and increased financial and academic support, according to officials...

What a fly on the wall at the event probably didn't hear was discussion of the fact that the big jump in tuition at UC and other public universities was the result of the Great Recession and the sluggish economic recovery thereafter.  State funding - not just in California - was cut back for public higher ed as tax revenues declined.  There likely was little discussion of effective steps at the federal level to prevent a recurrence.  So while more efficiencies in delivery of higher ed are always of interest, big negative macro shocks to the economy are much more a factor in threats to access.  It's a question of orders of magnitude.

Of course, yours truly wasn't actually there, but it would have been interesting to hear:

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