On May 31, 2018, The Sacramento Bee published an op-ed from Eric Schmidt, former executive chair of Google and a member of the UC Berkeley Board of Visitors, titled, “You don’t need to be the head of Google to know what needs to be done about the UC.” Here’s an excerpt:
While our socioeconomic well-being depends on a vibrant private sector, make no mistake, the strength of that sector is supported in profound ways by all that public higher education has to offer. And I feel that California owes it to ourselves to make sure that its institutions of higher learning remain places of immense promise and unlimited potential for students who will shape our state, and our economy, well into the future.
Today, the UC system educates about 90,000 more students than it did in the year 2000 with the same level of state funding. On a per-student basis, state support for the UC has plummeted from $19,100 per student to $7,500 in the 2016-17 academic year, even as the university has been compelled to admit a growing number of students. You don’t need to be a business executive to realize that is unsustainable.
California’s higher education system has long been one of the strongest and most accessible in the U.S. The UC is also known as a world-class incubator of discovery and innovation, generating more patents than any other university in the nation. It’s in UC’s DNA, from the very beginning. …
The investment of public funds in public universities has paid Californians back many times over. In fact, study after study shows that when it comes to public spending there is no better investment than higher education, with every dollar spent generating as much as seven dollars for the state’s coffers.
There’s a moral bottom line, as well. Budgets are moral documents – they reveal our true values. Putting more resources into higher education, sustaining what the state’s founders started, is not only an economic no-brainer – it’s the right thing to do.
Read the complete op-ed on The Sacramento Bee’s website.