What Price Glory?
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years ago, with the economy recovering and Democrats exploiting
student fees as a campaign issue, Governor Wilson proposed a "compact
with higher education" to stabilize fee increases and forestall
further budget cuts. His proposal called for an annual 4-percent
real increase in state appropriations to higher education and steady
10-percent student fee increases. So far, the state has done better
than the compact provides. For the past two years, the Legislature
has "bought out" the student fee increases by providing enough additional
funding to replace revenue the fee hikes would have produced. The
budget game is now played thusly: The UC Regents propose a student
fee increase, the Legislature and governor come up with the extra
money, the regents defer the increase. It appears to be working:
With fees stabilized, enrollments have begun to recover. The entering
UC class this fall was the largest since 1991.
game will be played again this spring for the 1997-'98 budget cycle.
For the third year in a row, UC officials proposed a fee increase
-- 9.7 percent this time, which would cost the state an estimated
$33 million to absorb. This time around, however, the university
did not seek a total buyout of the proposed increase. Included in
the $370 in added fees each student may be required to pay is a
$40 "technology fee" intended to generate a $4-million down payment
on the overhaul and modernization of UC's computer systems and teaching
technologies. UC President Richard Atkinson says he wants this new
fee imposed on students systemwide, regardless of what the state
does. He also anticipates increasing the technology fee each year
into the foreseeable future.
fall, Atkinson argued that the proposed fee hikes are in keeping
with the compact made with higher education by the governor, and
that it is time for the university to uphold its end of the bargain.
"There is no question the university has been faced with very tough
problems these last few years," Atkinson says, "but I think we have
served the state well. Now we must ensure that our programs remain
of high quality."
this month, however, Governor Wilson proposed a full buyout of student
fee increases -- including the technology tax -- and proposed providing
additional funding for one of Atkinson's highest priorities: increasing
UC faculty pay. Currently UC professors are paid an average of $73,000
a year, but still lag about 3 percent behind faculty at comparable