What Price Glory?
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argues that the high-fee, high-aid structure has enabled the poor
to have wider access to college than might otherwise be possible,
and there is considerable statistical evidence proving that he is
correct. Especially with affirmative-action admissions considerations
on the way out in the UC system, the ability to subsidize low-income
students could prove essential to maintaining any semblance of diversity
in the university's student body.
their fees, middle- and upper-income students are, in effect, carrying
the tuition load for lower-income students. The result has been
steady enrollment increases in the 1990s for two groups: low-income
students, who receive aid, and high-income students, for whom fees
are not an issue. At the same time, however, enrollment has steadily
shrunk among the middle class, defined as those with a yearly family
income between $30,000 and $90,000. "The dilemma is what is happening
to the middle class," confirms UC system budget director Larry Hershman.
"More people are going to have to save and borrow."
fees for higher education in California were not born of economic
necessity, but were an outgrowth of political expediency. In 1967
California had a new governor: Ronald Reagan. He sensed public disgust
growing with student protesters' disrespect for the taxpayers who
were giving them a free, first-rate education. By the end of the
1960s, there were more than 200 arrests at UCLA, UC Berkeley and
UC San Diego; in 1969 alone there were 584 arrests at San Francisco
State College. Voters saw little reason to coddle students they
viewed as spoiled children and Reagan rode the electorate's collective
resentment into the statehouse.
his first year in office, Governor Reagan argued that the state
should stop subsidizing protesters and start making students pay
tuition for their education. His position was hugely popular with
the populace. But Reagan was opposed by Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh,
who found unconscionable the idea of scuttling California's promise
of a free education.