What Price Glory?
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University of California's (UC) nine campuses now charge "educational
fees" and "registration fees." The California State University system
(CSU), with 22 campuses, charges a "university fee" and an "instructional-related
activities fee." The state's 106 community colleges charge students
an "academic unit fee." Call these costs what you will, the fact
is the price of higher education in the Golden State is a lot higher
than it used to be.
generation, in fact, was perhaps the last to benefit from anything
resembling California's post-World War II promise. Students in the
University of California system today pay $4,166 a year in fees;
these may go up as much as $370 a year by Fall 1997. The cost of
room and board at UCLA is, on average, an additional $6,400 a year
-- and Berkeley is even pricier. Today's students work longer hours
while in school, borrow more to meet rising costs (an average of
$4,300 a year) and are forced by economic constraints to take longer
to complete their undergraduate educations.
cost of going to the University of California today manifests itself
not only as a financial burden on students and their families, but
also profoundly on society-at-large. The career choices made by
students, particularly those who go to UC's professional schools
and are faced with $10,000 a year in fees, are undoubtedly skewed
by what they spend on their educations. This contradicts one of
the public university's central purposes: to produce graduates who
will take lower-paying public service jobs after they graduate to
give something back to the community. UC graduates -- California's
best and brightest, who despite rising fees are still trained largely
at public expense, now increasingly find it financially impossible
to serve those most in need.
steadily escalating fees at the University of California mirror
a wider national trend. Over the past 15 years, while household
income rose 82 percent, college tuition climbed 234 percent nationally,
according to the U.S. General Accounting Office. During the same
period state support across the nation fell by an average of 14
percentage points; universities have become increasingly dependent
on tuition to balance the budget.