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Spring 2003
Can We Afford Excellence?
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TORRES-GIL: So what would you propose as a more coherent, analytical approach to fee increases?

RICHMAN: If we were to put in place a regular process of fee increases, which were moderate on an annual basis, and also a process that continued to guarantee access through financial aid to those students that needed it, that would provide a much more stable source of funding for UC. Another thing we should look at is the question of “means testing” for tuition fees, where students’ fees are on a sliding scale based on their ability to pay. Currently, despite the fee increases, UC continues to be a good deal for Californians, and my opinion is that if a family is wealthier, then we should look at means testing the fees.

CORREA: We have to think about long-term management of California’s resources. The problem is term limits — and I’m fully supportive of term limits — but the lessons we term-limited members learn will be gone. What we need to do is essentially put it on you — the University of California, higher education — to go in and talk to the next generation of legislators and say to them that instead of cutting fees during boom years, as was done in the past, the UC would keep them at a reasonable level in exchange for the Legislature creating some kind of a trust fund to help manage through hard times.

TORRES-GIL: The last time we had a huge enrollment surge was in the ’60s and the state responded by adding several UC campuses. Today, we’re planning one more campus while the enrollment surge is predicted to be even greater. How do we handle the need to enroll more students without expansion of new campuses?

KUEHL: The California Postsecondary Education Commission estimated that by the end of this decade enrollment in the state for secondary, postsecondary education would be 700,000 more students than the enrollment in public colleges and universities in 1998. If you look at it in the traditional context of build another building so that everybody can go at the same time, it could be a problem. I’ve always had concerns about the efficacy of such things as distance learning and some of these other new technologies that are available, but just building new buildings alone to manage the influx could be a problem. Even if the citizens of California vote for bonds to pay for some of it, how long can the state keep that up?

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