New op-ed: How much does Gov. Brown value higher education?

On Feb. 14, 2018, The Sacramento Bee published an op-ed from Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine, co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education, titled, “How much does Gov. Brown value higher education?”  Here’s an excerpt:

When it comes to higher education, Gov. Jerry Brown is an enigma. He highlights its importance, but his budget priorities short change the University of California and the California State University. …

Both UC and CSU have had no choice but to increase tuition and fees, shifting much of the cost to students and their families. Both systems have also implemented reforms and innovations that have saved many millions of dollars. It is exasperating to hear public officials condemn further tuition hikes, while they withhold the state dollars, making those increases necessary. Even with tuition and fee increases, more than half of students pay nothing thanks to generous financial aid programs.

The state’s investment in higher education should be a no brainer.

The op-ed concludes:

The Public Policy Institute of California has projected the state will need more than one million additional college graduates in our workforce by 2030. Our economic health depends in no small measure on the vitality and productivity of public higher education. Even as the number of qualified applicants grows, it is tragic that UC and CSU campuses are forced to turn away thousands of Californians.

Obviously, the state has many priorities, but that should not be a rationale for short-changing our higher education system and the tens of thousands of young men and women whose future is riding on a first-rate college education. Because those with a college degree earn substantially more over their careers, our investment in higher education more than pays for itself in economic growth and state and local tax revenue.

State revenues are running ahead of projections. Wouldn’t it make sense to devote a good portion of that money to public higher education?

Read the complete op-ed on the The Sacramento Bee website.