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Spring 2003
The Challenge
Going After the Best
Can We Afford Excellence?
The Price of Excellence
Strength in Numbers
First & Goal

University Communications

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Spring 2003
Can We Afford Excellence?
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TORRES-GIL: Many have expressed concern that raising fees means more limited access. On the other hand, there are those who point to UC as having the lowest fees in comparison to its counterparts. What are your thoughts on increasing student fees to address budget shortfalls?

CHAVEZ: Certainly there are many students who are going to be disadvantaged in a situation such as the state is facing now. They may be in high school, getting ready to graduate and planning to go to UCLA or another school and all of a sudden the student fees are increased significantly. You do the best you can as a parent trying to plan for paying for your child’s college education, but in a difficult economic time it feels as if we could lose an entire sector of students who would have the potential to be successful at UC but, because of the economic circumstances, instead have to make other choices.

KUEHL: Student fees are on the same roller coaster as the state budget. It is that boom-or-bust question; when we’re doing great, we put money into the system, and when we’re doing poorly, we take money out and the UC makes up for it in part by increasing student fees. It’s very hard on families in California when that happens, and I wish there was a way to create a formula so that student fees would go up when the economy goes up and go down when the economy goes down.

RICHMAN: It is crucial that we even out the boom-or-bust cycle that’s resulted in very volatile funding for UC. It can be done by a regular process of investment at the state level from the General Fund, and it can also be done by putting in place a more systematic system of fees that guarantees access to the university for students.

CALDERON: The mantra in higher education is gradual, moderate, predictable. But as we saw in the early ’90s, fees more than doubled in the UC system. The reality is that there’s really no gradual or moderate predictability. Student fees should not be tied to economic indicators unless government and higher-education leaders in this state figure out some ways to restrict the urge to drastically raise fees in bad times.

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