Price of Excellence
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resident undergraduate fees for the UC are $4,408 (including health
insurance and other services). Compare that with other systems such
as the University of Michigan, $7,960, or the University of Illinois,
$6,704. (The average for comparable institutions is $6,590. Private
universities, such as Stanford, Yale and Harvard, charge $27,204,
$27,130 and $24,630, respectively.) UC fees account for a relatively
small proportion of the system’s budget, just slightly more
than 11 percent, down from 20 percent in 1949-’50.
the University of Michigan (UM) and the University of Virginia (UVA)
have adopted innovative policies to increase fees and tuition to
enhance their available resources. UM is effectively exercising
its constitutional autonomy to determine its fees, and is charging
nonresidents at a level that is comparable
to that of competing private schools. For resident undergraduates,
it has implemented a high fee/high financial aid policy. At Virginia,
professional schools capable of raising their own funding have been
given the independence to do so.
situation is the most analogous to that of the UC; both California
and Michigan have constitutions that award their public universities
complete autonomy and independence.
Michigan’s constitution, the university has autonomy over
anything affecting academic affairs, including tuition and fees.
In practice, this means that while the state can decide how much
to appropriate to the university, it can neither tell it how to
spend those funds nor can it control other sources of revenue. It
is a position that UM has vigorously defended in the courts.