We Afford Excellence?
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So what would you propose
as a more coherent, analytical approach to fee increases?
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.
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.
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?
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?