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Winter 2000
The View from Murphy Hall
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Q: State support for higher education has, over the years, been shrinking relative to need. Today, the proportion of the state budget assigned to higher education is about one-third of what it was 20 years ago. This presents some significant challenges for UCLA.

A: Some critics contend that university presidents and chancellors spend too much time raising money and not enough on academic matters. I have to confess that I do spend a good bit of time thinking about and worrying about funding issues. It is true that the public resources for higher education are not what they used to be. If our only objective were for UCLA to be one of the better public universities, then we wouldn't have a significant resource problem because all public universities have had funding difficulties at some point in the '90s. At the moment, our state funding is comparable to public universities in other states. For UCLA, this accounts for only 21 percent of our budget, and tuition brings in just 9 percent.

But people expect more of UCLA; they expect UCLA to be one of the finest universities, public or private. Our competitors for faculty and for students are primarily the elite private universities. Those schools have seen their endowments triple over the last 10 years, and their tuition is roughly five times what we charge. This imbalance in resources presents some very real problems for us.

Q: How do we bridge such a gulf between the university's needs and the lack of available state resources?

A: The rest of the needed funding has to come from other sources, one of those being private giving. That, of necessity, has become an increasingly important aspect of the job. Luckily, we've been very successful in that arena. In the last fiscal year, we raised $330 million in private gifts and grants. It was the fifth straight year that UCLA has led all nine UC campuses in fund-raising, and we are very proud of that fact.

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