The recent state budget agreement has brought up many important issues for the UC system. Here are some of my top questions:
1) What is the current status of the deal made between President Napolitano and Governor Brown? Did the state budget deal certify or nullify the original pact? For example, the earlier pact clearly calls for the option of new employees to pick a define contribution plan, but the state budget does not include this. The original deal also has the state giving UC $436 million over three years for the pension, but the state budget only mentions one year of funding ($96 million). Is the deal with the governor like the deal the governor thought he had last year with UC, which prevented any tuition increases for four years?
2) What happened to UCOP’s claim that it needed to raise tuition 5% over the next five years in order to maintain excellence? It is clearly getting less money, and the new money can only be used to pay down the pension liability. Was the earlier claim only a bargaining ploy, or does the UC really need more money than it is getting?
3) What is the status of all of the non-monetary issues (online ed, time to degree, three-year degrees, transfer rates) contained in the Brown and Napolitano agreement? First of all, aren’t these areas the domain of the faculty senate?
4) What exactly did the UC get in terms of enrollment funding? The state says they can get an additional $25 million if they promise to do many different things, including adding 5,000 additional students from California, but how did the legislature come up with the figure of $5,000 per additional student? Is this the result of UC’s continued refusal to come up with a fact-based analysis of how much it costs to educate each additional undergraduate student?
5) What happened to all of the legislation about sharing non-resident tuition among the campuses? There was a lot of sound and fury about this issue, but in the end, it appeared to be dropped.
6) Did Napolitano really get anything by taking on the governor in such an aggressive fashion? Yes, she may have commandeered more funding for the pension, but at what price? Not only will the UC have to introduce a pension calculation salary cap for new hires, but it also may end up introducing a very bad defined contribution plan that could ultimately work to defund the defined benefit pension plan and hurt the retirement of many future workers. Also, what does it say about an institution when it leaders says don’t worry about the changes because they only affect future workers?
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