Monday, April 9, 2012

The UC Budget and the Damage Done

At the last UC Regents meeting, a discussion of the UC budget outlines the following evidence of the deterioration of educational quality in the UC system:

• At UC Riverside, they will walk onto a campus where enrollment has grown in the last three years by nearly 3,000 students – many of them the first in their families ever to attend college – while at the same time the number of faculty has been reduced by five percent. The result: class sizes have grown by 33 percent. Introductory physics classes that used to average 95 students have exploded in size in three years to 573 students.

• At UC Santa Cruz, students will be provided with 84 fewer course offerings and their class sizes will have spiked 33 percent. The student-faculty ratio has exploded by nearly 15 percent, and the campus lacks funding for 125 faculty FTE – 14 percent of its faculty positions. Yet for all the cuts, the campus still faces a daunting $38 million budget gap.

• UC Santa Barbara has over 1,000 more students than it did three years ago, but the number of staff has declined by 450 (nearly 11 percent) during that time, and the faculty has remained the same size. The results are fewer student services, larger classes and discussion sections, and reductions and eliminations in many programs.

• And across the system, pension costs alone will rise to $1.8 billion annually in the next five years – an expense that campuses did not have to shoulder as recently as three years ago. If there is no increase in either State funds or tuition during this time, campuses will have to find the equivalent of funding for 7,000 staff or 3,900 faculty to fund this expense alone.

In other words, classes are getting bigger, courses are being cut, the number of faculty has been reduced, but the number of students has gone up. Moreover, the campuses are about to be hit with major pension costs, and it is unclear whether the state budget will provide any significant funding for the UC system.

These internal budget cuts not only mean a shortchanging of undergraduate instruction, but they also result in a longer time to degree, which in itself restricts access and reduces affordability.


  1. This is a really great breakdown of the regents meeting. I'm a student communications major currently working on a research paper about education budget for UCs. I would love to talk to you a little bit about this. If you wouldn't mind taking a moment to talk to a student about your views/findings on this please send me an email at :
    Thank you so much.

  2. I am in a Small Group Communication class and my group is doing a presentation on Budget Cuts. My section is mostly about how Budget Cuts affect how students complete their majors. This has helped me a lot. Thank You.

  3. University of California Provost Chancellor both agree instate tuition is to low. University of California Berkeley (UCB) Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau is outspoken on why elite public universities should charge more. With Birgeneau’s leadership flagship UCB is more expensive (on an all-in-cost) than private Harvard and Yale. Cal. is the most expensive public higher education in our country!

    Birgeneau likes to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar expected. The Chancellor’s ‘charge more’ instate tuition skyrocketed fees by an average 14% per year from 2006 to 2011-12 academic year. If Birgeneau had allowed fees to rise at the same rate of inflation over the past 10 years they would still be in reach of most middle income students. Increasing funding is not Cal’s solution.

    UCB is a public universities created to maximize access to the widest number of instate students at a reasonable cost: mission of diversity and equality of opportunity. Unfortunately Birgeneau’s ‘charge more’ instate tuition diminishes the equality and inclusion principles which underlie our state and country. Birgeneau’s and Provost George Breslauer’s senior management ‘charge more’ instate tuition denies middle income Californians the transformative value of university education.

    Chancellor Birgeneau’s tenure is a sad unacceptable legacy. University of California Berkeley is now farther and farther out of reach for the sons and daughters of Californians.

    Send your opinion: UC Board of Regents and your Calif. State Senator and Assembly member.

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