Stay up to date with the latest news and information on California higher education. Plus, blogs that are unabashedly pro-higher education, offering what you need to know to be a passionate advocate for our colleges and universities.

LA Times Editorial: UC’s $175 million in hidden funds might not be $175 million — and they might not be hidden

On April 28, 2017, the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board published an editorial, “UC’s $175 million in hidden funds might not be $175 million — and they might not be hidden.” Here’s an excerpt:

Still, it’s naïve to read the audit without also considering the troubling political backdrop. This is the eighth audit of UC in just a few years, urged on by legislators who have their own vision of UC’s mission and their own political agendas. They have long hinted at — or openly advocated — giving the Legislature and governor more control over the university and its educational priorities. What’s stopping them? The California Constitution, which grants the regents that authority.

It was smart to give UC that autonomy. Politicians make notoriously lousy educators, and their handling of the state’s public schools should give no one any confidence in their ability to run one of the world’s great universities. The audit’s call for a tighter leash on UC’s operations seems unfounded at this point.

The joint committee meeting this week needs to be a genuine search for truth, not a stage for political rhetoric or unfounded attack.

Read the complete article on the LA Times website.

New Op-Ed: Adequate Cal State Funding Can Ease Teacher Shortage

On March 22, 2017, Fox & Hounds published an op-ed from Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine, co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education, titled, “Adequate Cal State Funding Can Ease Teacher Shortage.” Here’s an excerpt:

California has a severe shortage of teachers and one of the reasons we aren’t producing more instructors is the failure to adequately fund the California State University system—the primary pipeline for training members of the teaching profession.

Numbers tell the story.  This state ranks last in the country in teacher to student ratios.  We are 100,000 teachers short of what it would take just to get up to the national average.  And it will take another 106,000 teachers over the next ten years to simply keep up current staffing levels.  A survey of California school districts found that 75% are experiencing teacher shortages.  Obviously, we are going to have to bring more trained teachers into the system and that is where CSU comes in.

CSU prepares more California teachers than all other institutions combined and nearly 8 percent of the nation’s teachers overall.  The Cal State system is our best source of K-12 teachers and the key to improving the performance of our schools.  One of the reasons California pool of qualified teachers in not large enough is the State’s chronic underfunding of CSU and the University of California.

Read the complete op-ed on the Fox & Hounds website.

Education is a universal right that extends to immigrants, Cal State chancellor declares

On Feb. 1, 2017, the Los Angeles Times published an article, “Education is a universal right that extends to immigrants, Cal State chancellor declares”. Here’s an excerpt:

California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White, in the annual state of the CSU address Wednesday, spoke of his ongoing commitment to protect vulnerable immigrant students and said access to education is a universal right.

“We will go as far as state and federal laws allow to ensure all students have that opportunity,” White said. “Why? Because, we know that a person’s intelligence — their capacity for learning and advancing human progress — in no way depends on what side of a border they were born on. We know that an empowered person does not take opportunity from others. Rather, they create opportunity for those who surround them.”

White’s remarks came at the close of a two-day board of trustees meeting in Long Beach, where university leaders debated whether to increase tuition as a way to fill a looming gap in state funding.

Read the complete article on the LA Times website.

New Op-Ed: Higher Education is a State Responsibility

On Feb. 6, 2017, Fox & Hounds published an op-ed from Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine, co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education, titled, “Higher Education Is A State Responsibility.”  Here’s an excerpt:

Both the University of California and the California State University system are in the process of instituting increases in tuition and fees to help maintain educational quality and keep the doors open to worthy students.  Both systems are acting responsibly, but these increases also underscore the failure of the State to do its part in funding higher education.

In the last decade, per student support for UC in the State Budget has fallen almost 40%   CSU per student funding has dropped by almost 25% in the same period.  UC per student funding is barely a third of what it was 25 years ago. This kind of anemic funding cannot sustain the finest public education system in the world.

California has long benefited from its Master Plan for Higher Education that established a framework for excellence and accessibility at the University of California, the California State University system, and the community colleges.  The opportunity for hundreds of thousands of Californians to go to college at minimal cost has fueled the state’s prosperity.  It is no coincidence that California now has the world’s sixth largest economy.

Read the complete op-ed on the Fox & Hounds website.

If the question is upward mobility the answer is California colleges

On Feb. 1, 2017, Fox & Hounds published commentary from resident of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education, titled, “If the question is upward mobility the answer is California colleges.”  Here’s an excerpt:

What’s the most effective tool to improve economic mobility in California?

Higher minimum wage? No.
Mandatory employment benefits? Nope.
Higher redistributive taxes? Nada.

It’s the California State University and community colleges.

According to a landmark study for the Equality Opportunity Project, Stanford’s Raj Chetty and coauthors found that certain state and community colleges offer effective pathways to higher incomes for younger generations.

By looking at the mobility rate of every college in America, the authors found that highly selective colleges do well in channeling children from low- or middle-income families to the top 1 percent of the income distribution, but in one of the study’s most compelling findings — the colleges with the highest upward mobility rates are typically mid-tier public schools that have both large numbers of low-income students and very good earnings outcomes.

Of the top ten colleges in the country with the best mobility rates, three are in California: top-ranked Cal State Los Angeles, Glendale Community College and Cal Poly Pomona.

Read the complete article on the Fox & Hounds website.


Tuition hike, budget gaps top agenda as Cal State trustees discuss priorities for 2017

On January 30, 2017, the Los Angeles Times published an article, “Tuition hike, budget gaps top agenda as Cal State trustees discuss priorities for 2017.” Here’s an excerpt:

California State University’s trustees on Tuesday will debate raising tuition after a six-year freeze — a controversial idea that has grown more inevitable after the governor’s recent budget proposal.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget allocated less than half the additional state funding university officials said was necessary to preserve the quality of the nation’s largest public university system. …

State funding covers about half of Cal State’s operating costs, compared with 80% in the 1990s, administrators said. The system relies on its 470,000 students’ tuition and fees to cover the rest.

The state slashed nearly one-third of its support to Cal State during the recession but has steadily restored funding in the last six years. Over that time, Brown pledged annual increases in exchange for a tuition freeze.

At the November trustees meeting, White said that raising tuition was something “none of us want to do,” and that the top priority is to lobby state lawmakers to make it unnecessary by fully funding Cal State’s budget request.

Read the complete article on the LA Times website.

LA Times tuition article tells the story of state underfunding of the UC system

On January 26, 2017, the Los Angeles Times published an article, “UC regents approve first tuition increase after six-year freeze; some students ‘infuriated'”  Here’s an excerpt:

UC President Janet Napolitano had told regents a day earlier that an increase was needed to ensure that the renowned public research university system could continue to deliver the same top-notch education today as in the past, even as it grapples with escalating enrollment demands and reduced state support.

The 10-campus system, she said, had responded to deep state funding cuts during the Great Recession by saving more than $320 million through reforms. Despite such efforts, campuses are struggling with higher student-faculty ratios, fewer courses, fewer teaching assistants and overtaxed student services.

“We have done more with less, but at a cost,” she said. …

Napolitano’s office, in a memo to regents, presented data showing that state support for instructional costs per student has dropped by more than half, from $16,980 in 2000-01 to an estimated $7,160 this year. Over the same time, the share UC has to cover — from tuition and fees and general funds — rose from $5,860 to $9,450.

Read the complete article on the LA Times website.

CSU faculty say in new report that funding losses have hurt students of color

On January 12, 2017, the Los Angeles Daily News published an article, “CSU faculty say in new report that funding losses have hurt students of color.”  Here’s an excerpt:

The decline in per-student funding within the Cal State University system has coincided with campus student bodies becoming more diverse, thus making it more difficult for young people of color to obtain a degree, faculty members said in a new report.

The California Faculty Association report, released Thursday, does not accuse policymakers of racism in their funding decisions. Instead, the report argues that the years of increased diversity within the Long Beach-based CSU coincided with a time of growing skepticism over the value of government services.

All the same, faculty contended nonwhite students have been dealt a poor hand.

“Today’s students, the majority being students of color, are paying more for their education than their counterparts, the majority who were white, did so just a few decades ago,” said Cecil Canton, associate vice president of affirmative action for the California Faculty Association.

Read the complete article on the Los Angeles Daily News website.

UC needs a tuition hike, but also a clearer vision of its identity – LA Times Editorial

On January 16, 2017, the Los Angeles Times published an editorial, “UC needs a tuition hike, but also a clearer vision of its identity.”  Here’s an excerpt:

No one likes to see the price of higher education rise, but if Napolitano is true to her word and this money is used solely to improve the education of those who pay it, the price hike is justified. There are valid concerns about the long-term funding of the university, but for the short-term, preserving UC’s quality in exchange for a small increase in tuition and fees is the right move. The Board of Regents should approve the price hike when it meets next week. …

The governor, who has never been a major supporter of UC, basically resisted anything that would help the university bring in more money — higher tuition, better funding from the state or admitting more out-of-state students, who bring geographic diversity to campus in addition to paying a higher tuition that helps fund financial aid for low-income Californians. Instead, Brown expressed his preference for a more austere UC, one that saves money by pushing more online courses and prodding professors into teaching more classes while engaging less in research and other academic pursuits.

That’s not a vision, though. It’s short-sighted frugality that would strip down one of the state’s best-run and most admired institutions. …

California can do better than make a public university education a strain on its own middle class, and it cannot afford to let mediocrity overtake an institution that draws great minds and tremendous investment to the state. The state needs a true vision, one that is realistic yet as bold as that outlined in the Master Plan for Higher Education, and which includes major reinvestment in California’s jewel of higher education.

Read the complete editorial on the LA Times website.

UC freshman applications shatter records, with gains among all racial groups

On December 19, 2016, the Los Angeles Times reported that “UC freshman applications shatter records, with gains among all racial groups.”  Here’s an excerpt:

The University of California received more than 171,000 freshman applications for fall 2017, marking a new record with gains across all racial and ethnic groups.

The applicants included more than 111,600 California high school seniors, a 6% rise over last year, according to prelimary UC data released Monday. Overall, the top campus choice was UCLA, followed by UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara.

The record number of in-state applicants will help UC meet its pledge to enroll an additional 2,500 Californians next fall, said UC President Janet Napolitano. In response to public criticism over UC’s rising out-of-state enrollment, Napolitano in 2015 forged a three-year deal with Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature to add a total of 10,000 more Californians to the system by 2018.

“This year’s applications affirm, once again, that Californians’ demand for a UC education keeps getting stronger,” Napolitano said in a statement. “This is a testament to the excellence of California’s public research university, and reinforces the imperative to continue working with our state government to preserve UC’s quality and affordability, and to ensure there is a place at the university for every deserving California student.”

Read the complete article on the LA Times website.