Thursday, September 13, 2012

Regents Retreat

One of the most remarkable aspects of the recent regents’ discussion of the future of the university was the lack of discussion of the quality of instruction. While there was some statements that students are still happy with their education and the university is doing a good job at graduating students in a timely fashion, the quality of education was rarely brought up. Instead, the main focus was on how the UC can continue to do what it is doing by moving money around and engaging in some creative financing.

Some possible solutions suggested are to sell off parking and lease it back and reduce the university’s support for healthcare for its employees. There is also the idea to increase nonresident enrollments significantly and to charge different tuition rates for different degrees. The most creative and threatening suggestion was “Eliminate some or all State funding for a few campuses and socialize savings to others, resulting in no restrictions on tuition or nonresident enrollment for campuses with reduced State funding.” The final suggestion means total privatization for the elite campuses, while the other campuses are left to fight over diminished state funds. In reality, the current policies of letting campuses keep their tuition dollars and distributing state funds according to a formula that favors the campuses with medical students and doctoral students moves the UC in the direction of the privatization for the elite campuses and socialization for others model.

While the regents stressed the decreases in state funds, we have recently learned that UC payroll has gone up 29% in the last six years, so the loss of public support has been coupled with a major expansion of the university, especially in the medical area. In fact, there are now many more high-paid employees, but there are fewer faculty and more students. According to the retreat PowerPoint, the state now funds just 11% of the budget, but 97% of the faculty are supported by core funds. This would appear to mean that faculty now are only supported by state funds and tuition, which begs the question of where does all of the money generated from grants, endowments, medical services, and auxiliaries go?

38 comments:

  1. How dumb things happen at smart universities. The public’s UC Berkeley harvests family savings, Alumni donations, supporter’s money and taxes. Cal. ranked #1 public university total academic cost (resident) as a result of the Provost’s, Chancellor’s ‘charge resident’s higher tuition’. UCB tuition is rising faster than other universities.

    Cal ranked # 2 in faculty earning potential. Spending on salaries increased 29% in last six years. Believe it: Harvard College less costly.

    University of California negates promise of equality of opportunity: access, affordability. Self-absorbed Provost Breslauer Chancellor Birgeneau are outspoken on ‘charging residents much higher’ tuition.

    Birgeneau ($450,000) Breslauer ($306,000) like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving them their entitled funding. The ‘charge instate students higher tuition’ skyrocketed fees by an average 14% per year from 2006 to 2011 academic years. If they had allowed fees to rise at the same rate of inflation over past 10 years fees would still be in reach of middle income students. Breslauer Birgeneau increase disparities in higher education, defeat the promise of equality of opportunity, and create a less-educated work force.

    Additional state tax funding must sunset. The sluggish economy, 10% unemployment devastates family savings. Simply asking for more taxes (Prop 30, 32, 38) to spend on self-absorbed Cal. leadership, inefficient higher education practices, over-the-top salaries, bonuses, is not the answer.

    UCB is to maximize access to the widest number of residence at a reasonable cost. Birgeneau Breslauer’s ‘charge Californians higher tuition’ denies middle income families the transformative value of Cal.

    The California dream: keep it alive and well. Fire hapless Provost George W Breslauer. Clueless Chancellor Birgeneau resigned. Cal. leadership must accept responsibility for failing Californians.

    Opinions? UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu Calif. State Senators, Assembly members.

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