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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Impact of Tuition Hikes on Undergraduate Debt

The November UC Regents meeting featured a battle of the paradigms between administrative and student accounts of student finances. 

UC Office of the President (UCOP) officials, led by Executive Vice President Nathan Brostrom, sustained their longstanding claim that generous UC financial aid protects all low-income and most middle-income students from tuition costs. The Berkeley campus issued a statement citing the main talking point:
California students from families with annual incomes under $80,000 will continue to have tuition and fees fully covered by financial aid, and the vast majority of California students from families earning less than $150,000 a year will see no increase.
Upping the volume on this message, the immediate past chancellor of UC Berkeley, Robert Birgeneau, claimed that this high financial aid depends on high tuition, so that "frozen tuition means ever-increasing debt for low-income students."

While senior managers focused on tuition, students focused on their total cost of attendance. This is what they have to pay overall while they are in school.  Grants can cover most or all of their tuition, and yet rent, food, transportation, health insurance, etc. run up the overall bill for attending UC.   Regular folks watching the livestream might wonder why the officials were so soothing while the students were so distraught.  The explanation is that the officials and the students were talking about two different things.


Here’s a figure from a Legislative Analyst’s Office report that visualizes the experience gap in the regents’s boardroom.

For this student, from a family at around the median income, the University, federal and state programs cover all tuition and some expenses.  And in spite of fairly expensive aid, she is left that large blank space in the left-hand bar: nearly $10,000 to pay on her own. (Her total costs are lowballed here--as we'll see, they are closer to $35,000 at the coastal campuses).   

A bit of terminology will help:

"Student Responsibility" in the chart can also be called Self-Help Expectation, or Unmet Need, defined in a basic way as follows

Cost of Attendance (COA) minus Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need

Financial Need minus Financial Aid Awarded = Unmet Need

The first thing to note is that a university can say to a student, "we cover your full tuition" and still leave her scrambling to fund a gap in her grants, here of between $9000 and $10,000 per year. She will have to fill this gap either with loans or work.

Second, there is an ambiguity in the terminology. You might assume "Financial Aid Award" means grants.  But in fact university financial aid offices "award" loans as well.  They can, in this way, reduce a student's Unmet Need to zero, but only by inducing the student to borrow and/or take on additional work.  They can also include parental borrowing in the closing of Unmet Need.

I will follow what I believe is UC practice is calling the mixture of loans and work the student's Self-Help Expectation.  Unmet Need seems like a more rigorous term to describe financial need that is not covered by grants, but this is apparently not how UC uses the term so I will avoid it. 

Next, where does the financial aid system expect her to get this money?

I've spent quite a bit of time with financial aid analyses, but like most UC faculty have not done concrete aid calculations for particular students.  I got some help from an employee of UCSB's financial aid office, who was nice enough to send me some examples and comments. This person created the examples below without disclosing the campus's financial aid "parameters," which are apparently confidential. All of these examples presume a family of 4 with one student in college and no assets, savings, or non-salary income. It also assumes the student does not have outside scholarships.


Here is the cost of attendance (COA) for UCSB.

Tuition is about one-third of total costs, which are close to $35,000 a year.  A student can save about $4000 by moving off-campus, putting off-campus COA at $31,000.  I will stick with the on-campus first-year student: how does she cover these costs?

Example 1: Total Family Income = $35,000.
Expected Family Contribution = $0

This is a low-income student.  Her financial aid award letter (assuming on-campus housing) will break down like this:

$12,192    Cal Grant  
$  5,730    Pell Grant
$  7,736    UCSB Grant
$  3,500     Subsidized loan
$  2,000     Unsubsidized loan
$  1,700     Perkins loan
$  2,000    Work study

The student's COA is $34,858. Her EFC is $0, so her Financial Need is also $34,858.  Her grant total is $25,658.  She is left with a Self-Help Expectation of $9200.  She can supply $2000 of that with a work-study job. She needs still to come up with $7200 on top of that. 

This award letter has her borrowing the entire $7200 from three sources. Four years of this borrowing gets her a debt of $28,800. (In practice, annual loan offerings vary and generally increase each year, so $7200+ $6500+ $7500 +$7500 yields $28,700 after four years.)  If she took a second job to avoid taking on half of the loan--by earning $3600 per year--and she worked two eight hour days per week at $10 / hr take-home pay, she would need to work 24 weeks a year while graduating with $14,400 in loans.  

If you look at the charts of both UC Berkeley borrowing and national borrowing in my post "Free Speech and a Free UC," you can see that this is a conservative estimate. The average debt burden for a student in this income range is about $3000 higher than this amount.

Example 2: Total Family Income = $70,000
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = $7820

$12,192    Cal Grant  
$  5,730    Pell Grant
$  5,646    UCSB Grant
$ 3,500     Subsidized loan
$ 2,000     Unsubsidized loan
$ 1,700     Perkins loan
$  2,000    Work study
$11,520    Parent PLUS Loan

This student is no longer likely to receive a Pell but can still get a Cal Grant (which covers full tuition).  His COA is the same as the first student's, $34,858.  His family is supposed to kick in an EFC of $7820, so his Financial Need is $27,038 per year. His grant total is $17,838.   He has a Self-Help Expectation of $9200. Interestingly, this is the same expectation as low-income Student 1's. Student 2 is not eligible for work study.  His parents are eligible for PLUS loans, however, and together with his $5500 in loan eligibility, this financial aid award letter has the student and his family borrowing to cover both the EFC and his Unmet Need.  

Assuming his loan amounts increase and he accepts the maximum in each case, the total borrowing for Student 2 is $5500 + $6500 + $7500 + $7500.  Four years of that will leave the student with $27,000 in debt for a bachelor's degree.  He could avoid $6800 in loan debt by working the same 16 hour weeks during most of the school year, or avoid all of it with many more hours of summer work. He could also avoid $4000 in expenses each year by living off-campus.  But if he wants to spend work hours on studying, as critiques of reduced student study time like Academically Adrift are asking students to do (my LARB review offers background on this issue), he and his family together will have borrowed $27,000 + $46,080 for a joint total of $73,080 for his bachelor's degree.

Example 3: Total Family Income = $100,000
Expected Family Contribution = $19,760

$12,192    Cal Grant  
$  5,730    Pell Grant
$  5,898    UCSB Grant
$ 3,500     Subsidized loan
$ 2,000     Unsubsidized loan
$ 1,700     Perkins loan
$  2,000    Work study
$23,460   Parent PLUS Loan

This student's family income is more than 150% of median family income in California. She has a kind of "middle class scholarship" in the form of the UCSB grant. It runs slightly higher than that for the student with $70,000 in family income.  But she is eligible neither for the Pell nor the Cal Grant.  Her family EFC is $19,760, so she has a Financial Need of $15,098 per year.  Subtracting her Financial Aid Awarded ($5,898) from her Financial Need yields her a Self-Help Expectation of . . . $9200.  

As with Student 2, she can cover $5500 of that with her two loans, and cover the remaining $3700 with the balance of her parents' PLUS loan ($23,460 minus their EFC of $19,760 is exactly $3700).  Or her parents could take out a smaller loan and she could cover the balance by working a bit more than Student 1's 16 hours a week for 24 weeks a year.  

My source observes,
To make up a third of her need  [without borrowing], a student would need about 20 hours a week or more throughout the school year and that leaves very minimal time for academics and could also be a factor as to why students do not become involved in organizations or research on campus.  That in turn could affect their attendance in grad school or programs like EAP. It then becomes a question of "how much can I do in one day," and what gets left out is when a student has to work it almost always ends up affecting their educational goals. 
Whatever she decides, Student 3 will  graduate with $22,000 in loans after four years. Her parents will owe $93,840 on their PLUS loans, plus interest. 


This is how the situation appears to me:

The student's Self-Help Expectation is not an accident of an insufficient financial aid budget. It is built into all the calculations.  The parameters appear to be structured to generate this gap of $9200 for all students, including poor students.  While private colleges regularly "gap" at least their least desirable admits, say the bottom quarter, UC appears to gap all of its students. My source wrote, "I don't know the politics of the policies behind it. I just know financial aid offices are always leaving that 'gap' to be covered in loans or work."

Covering a Cost of Attendance that assumes a $9200 Self-Help Expectation requires plenty of work, or debt, or both.   That is true of low income students, as the aggregate data confirms. In other words, a full tuition scholarship is readily compatible with $15,000 in graduation debt. The "middle class scholarship," as implemented by a campus-based grant, produces $22,000 in debt in these calculations. 

Parents are taking on new levels of debt for their children.  A $100,000 family income might suggest resources to support college, and the PLUS loans promise to soak all of that up. Student 3's parents take on close to 100 percent of their annual income in loans for one child's public university B.A. degree.  A special program like UC Berkeley's Middle Class Access Plan (MCAP) would reduce Student 3's parents' debt by reducing the EFC from about 20 percent of annual income in that case to a maximum of 15 percent. That would bring their debt down to $77,840.  It would not affect the debt of the other two students.

Parental debt doesn't seem to be reducing student debt, but to be covering tuition increases for non-poor students. 

The portion of tuition increases not funded by student or parent debt is funded by the state or federal governments. Here's a figure that shows one reason why the state is so angry with UCOP.

Fifteen years of tuition increases has increased Cal Grant outlays to UC by close to a factor of 8.This encourages the state to reduce its general fund outlays for UC operations by the amount that it has to increase Cal Grant outlays. Gov. Brown has in fact already told the regents that Sacramento is putting money into student scholarships instead of making "a direct investment in the university."   (For further reading, see Katy Murphy's good overview of the issue). 

Health insurance costs seem very high for this generally young population. So does on-campus housing, which costs $4000 a year more than housing furnished by famously price-gouging Isla Vista landlords (a different cost estimate for off-campus housing is here). Student costs may be artificially increased if campuses are using on-campus housing as a profit center to generate cross-subsidies for other activities.

In short, in the clash between official reassurances and student anguish about tuition hikes, the students are right.  Covering Cost of Attendance has work, stress, and debt built into it. Putting the point more harshly, the high tuition / high financial aid system functions is a debt engine.  Frozen tuition means "ever-increasing debt," in Prof. Birgeneau's terms.  But so does increased tuition.  The current financial aid system is structured to translate both higher tuition and higher financial "aid" into higher debt.


hmar said...

Thanks for the detailed analysis. I think I finally understand why the admin speak on this issue (high tuition, high aid) is so deceptive.

Anonymous said...

Chris, et al.
The other thing that is going on here is a stealth tax on wealthier families whose higher out-of-pocket or loan-based payments are, in essence, covering financial aid for poorer students (socialism in one university!). I'm certainly not opposed to taxes or expecting wealthier families to pay more of the cost, but I don't think this cross-subsidy is made clear in any of the discussions.
Ronnie Lipschutz, UCSC

Bob Jacobsen said...

Yes, this is how financial aid at UC works. At each institution, the total aid available is compared to the total student need, and a "self help level"[1] is established. Individuals then have available aid provided from Cal Grants, Pell Grants, UC and private funds up to that level.

This is a natural result of having to allocate financial aid across students with different needs. You can imagine different policies, but the UC policy is that each student is an individual, and (beyond the individual and family resources _already_ taken into account in the need calculation), each should take the same share of what financial aid can't cover.[2]

If the campus has more funds available, e.g. from more private scholarships or more tuition return to aid, then the self help level goes down. If tuition and costs go up, then the self help level goes up. It's the balance that matters.

There's nothing hidden about this.[2][3][4] If somebody commenting UC finances doesn't understand this, they've haven't been seriously studying the situation.

The article speculates that "coastal campuses" have higher costs (Berkeley is $32K on-campus[5]), but then fails to point out that they have more financial aid resources, so their self help levels are _lower_. Specifically, Berkeley's is $8600 this year[6] while UCSB is $9200.

But note that all these calculations are about _total_ cost of attendance, most of which is the living expense component. The article was supposed to be about tuition hikes, where'd that go? The thing the article works _really_ hard to get around is that all the UC student aid that makes up this process comes from the roughly 1/3 of tuition that's used as "return to aid".

UC has _never_ received state funds to pay student living costs. Never. If somebody harks back to the 60's and tells you they attended when tuition was $240 a quarter, ask them how they paid their rent. Most of the time they worked (often lots of hours), or had parents who saved for years, or lived at home. Those days are gone. Now UC's high-tuition/high-aid system generates money that goes to living expenses for low-income students, in the case of Berkeley about $139M[7] last year. That number has to increase yearly, or else the student self-help will rise, hence student work and debt will rise.

That's because as costs (not just frozen tuition, but the other costs) rise with fixed financial resources, the self-help level _has_ to rise. The only solution to keeping the self-help level low, let alone reducing it, is more aid to cover the increasing costs of living and attending these schools, much more than the cost of just tuition. And the only place that UC can get that aid, unless you can magically get the State to contribute something it's never done before, is through the return-to-aid part of increased tuition.

Arguing for a tuition freeze without the State starting to fund living costs is arguing for increasing self-help levels for the more than half of students who receive financial aid. If you're arguing for the tuition freeze, you are arguing for those students working more and taking on more debt. If you want to argue for a tuition freeze on political grounds, fine, but at least be clear that you want the students to pay the cost.

[1] This is what it's called at Berkeley and Santa Barbara.
[2] http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/paying-for-uc/how-aid-works/
[3] http://berkeley.edu/apply/aid.shtml
[4] http://www.finaid.ucsb.edu/Tutorials.aspx
[5] http://admissions.berkeley.edu/costofattendance
[6] http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2013/04/18/campus-announces-2013-14-freshman-admissions-decisions/
[7] http://www.ucop.edu/student-affairs/_files/regents_1213.pdf page A1 6.

Michael Meranze said...

@Bob Jacobsen

Bob I think that you are dodging several of the issues here.

First, although you note the return to aid component it seems clear that, at least according to UCSB numbers, the percentage of the aid that is coming from UC funds is actually relatively small compared to other funds like federal funds, cal grants, loans, and work-study.

All of those other things CAN be used to pay things other than tuition. So your somewhat blithe dismissal of the notion that the state might fund that stuff is sort of beside the point since it already helps the total cost and if the tuition went down Pell grants and Cal grants could go to other things.

In fact, one can make a stronger case than yours that at this point through things like Cal Grants and Pell grants the state and the Federal government are paying a lot of money to UC in an incredibly inefficient way precisely because it is coming through financial aid rather than direct funding (especially on the state level). On top of the inefficiency isn't it also the case that Pell and Cal grants go to students and therefore when they use them to pay for tuition that money is also subject to return to aid (this is a real not rhetorical question by the way). If that is the case the present system is even less productive than I thought it was.

If UC actually was willing to better show how it used its funds it might be able to get the state to actually fund it directly rather than indirectly and inefficiently. It would arguably cheaper for the state (since they could focus on extra costs in their cal grants) and more financially viable for UC since so much of the funding wouldn't be lost by return to aid. But this is never going to happen so long as defenders of the system keep claiming that it is the only way to prevent lower income students from paying more.

You also say that the UC plan treats everyone as individuals. But if everyone below 100,000 has the same unmet need but doesn't have the same family resources then that doesn't seem to be treating everyone as individuals does it?

Also, last time I checked if you raise tuition you raise the total cost. So I wonder what you think the bait and switch is here. On the other hand when UC claims that "its" financial aid system covers all of tuition you do have to wonder...I know it makes a good soundbite to accuse critics of the system as wanting "the students to pay the cost" but that is hardly the self-evident fact that you would like to imply it is.

Bob Jacobsen said...

I'm speechless.

I can't believe that, after commenting on UC finances for years, your understanding can be this poor.

"get the state to actually fund it directly ... more financially viable for UC since so much of the funding wouldn't be lost by return to aid"

"lost by return to aid"? LOST?!? That's money that's funding our students. I can't think of any way that it's "lost".

"You also say that the UC plan treats everyone as individuals. But if everyone below 100,000 has the same unmet need but doesn't have the same family resources then that doesn't seem to be treating everyone as individuals does it?"

Wow. The point of calculating "unmet need" for individuals is that it takes things like family resources into account. "Everybody below 100,000 (sic)" _doesn't_ have the same unmet need. The unmet need of a student from a family with income of $20K is much, much larger than one from a family of $90K. That's the basic financial aid process that goes through the FAFSA data-collection form, the calculation of family contribution, etc. That's how different students get different grants. You didn't know this?

"On the other hand when UC claims that "its" financial aid system covers all[1] of tuition you do have to wonder..." You don't have to wonder. You just have to look at the facts. Apparently, after all these years, you haven't.

Can you really be ignorant of all this?


[1] I've never seen UC claim "all". Reference please? Strawman arguments are so ugly. What I have heard is "all up to NN$ of family income", which is an easily checkable fact. (NN varies with year, of course)

Michael Meranze said...

@Bob Jacobsen

Oh, Bob Bob do you really have that much trouble following an argument if it doesn't agree with yours.

When the University receives a dollar in tuition it spends 1/3 of that for return to aid. Now as you know as well as anyone a lot of that money comes from Cal grants. If the state gave that money directly and UC lowered tuition demands on students the University would not need to spend that 1/3 on return to aid for tuition and students would have lower tuition costs. Under those circumstances the university would have more available funding to improve education while lowering tuition.

Now the trick would be trying to figure out how much money the state would need to put directly to the university (rather than indirectly through Cal grants) so that the University would come out ahead the state would save money and Cal grants would still have enough money to cover extra tuition costs. I don't really understand why you are so averse to considering that.

I think that it is funny that you would accuse someone of setting up a straw man since in your previous comment you said " but at least be clear that you want the students to pay the cost."

But you did catch me in a lazy locution. Since I had been talking about lower income students I assumed that was obvious. But yes it is up to about $80,00 in tuition. My point as was Chris's is that that financial aid is only partly covered by UC funds and that the other funds could be reconfigured and used for costs beyond tuition.

My comment about unmet need for everyone is based on the fact that according to Chris' UCSB numbers the self-help expectation is the same for everyone up to 80,000 or so. I realize that you prefer the UC phrasing that that doesn't really indicate unmet need but the point isn't that hard to follow.

To quote you again "Can you really be ignorant of all this?"

Chris Newfield said...

This is my third post in the past month or so about tuition and financial aid, and my goal was to better understand the basis of the students' distress about the "moderate increase in tuition." Bob I appreciate the links and comments, and was glad to see you start by saying "this is how financial aid works," since that's what I was trying to capture in this post.

A terminological point: what much of the world calls "unmet need" UC calls "self-help expectation." I had to change all my terms at least once in a back-and-forth with my FinAid source. I think that's part of the issue between you and Michael--self-help expectation did not vary across these sample financial award letters.

On the bigger policy questions you're raising, I think it would be more honest and more creative for UC to say, "yes, we have a longstanding bias in favor of tuition hikes because more revenue is better than less (and means more return-to-aid), and because we have been able to control it. But we do know that we do not get "self-help expectation" to zero even for low income students. We bake borrowing into the cake, and low income students borrow on average as much as middle class students [insert UC data, UCB data, national data from the "Free UC" post here]. In addition, we can't come close to funding the financial aid we do have on our own, and depend on the state and the feds, with the former being angry at our reliance on them and likely to cut us in the future. We are also reaching the end of our ability to ask higher-income students to pay for lower-income ones (Ronnie's point), in part because we are imposing very high debt levels on many of them. While tuition hikes will allow us to squeeze a few more years out of the system, we know the economic environment has changed along with the political one. Student debt is increasing faster than the value of the debt-financed degrees, middle-class families are struggling as much as ever, and the high skills/ high wage bargain" is being turned into a "high skill/bad wage" bargain by global competition in educated labor. So we are now proposing 3 things: (1) a state buyout of all planned tuition increases (not exactly 9% state increases per year for 5 years); (2) a strict condition that 100% of the new state money go to instruction and department-based research; (3) a multi-year tuition-reduction plan with a backfill from state money funded in part by reduction in the state's obligation to pay financial aid through Cal Grants. This would involve shifting some state aid funding from tuition to other living costs, but we will work with the state on redesigning the programs."

Something like this--CUCFA's Reset should also be discussed seriously--will reduce student hardship and respond better to the current political and economic situation.

Bob I still think you should switch sides!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some historical thoughts are in order from Anon2. But I agree with most of Bob's comments, especially those relating to living costs-housing, food and such.

Now for the history stuff. Prior to WW2 only students from well off families or those who worked their way through went to college. There was no financial aid, no loans. My mom went to Penn State, paid for by her dad, and my dad was working his way through Oregon State when the war intervened.

When the war ended, the GI Bill enabled thousands of veterans (like my dad) to pursue higher education and spurred the growth of the American middle class. "College for the masses" had come into being.

Those who had benefited from the GI Bill then wanted their kids to get a college education. All well and fine. However, in the long term so many getting degrees actually "cheapened" them.

I can recall heated articles as recently as the late 1990s about the glut of four year degrees and equating them to high school diplomas 40-50 years prior.

Believe me, I support education generally and higher ed in particular. I support the concept of first generation students getting degrees. But I have to ask-have we created a monster that is eating its young. Perhaps it's time to have a serious discussion about doing away with "one size fits all" or "everyone has to have a college degree to prosper."

Bob Jacobsen said...

C. Newfield:

If the State was willing to fund you've proposed above, there'd be no discussion of switching sides. We'd both be on the same side. You're basically restating what UC has been arguing for.

I certainly agree that the long term direction of a high-tuition/high-aid model is toward higher tuition, and that there's a limit to how high the tuition can be. We both agree that more State money is vital to the health of UC, and to higher education in general.

To get that, however, there has to be honest discussion of the realities of the situation. Many of the arguments made by UC "supporters"[2] are hugely counterproductive.

The most recent example I have evidence for is James Vernon's recent op-ed in the Sacramento Bee[3] (apparently) intended to rally support for increased State funding. I agree with most of what he said, and was looking forward to using it in a discussion with Legislative staff the following week. Unfortunately, he couldn't resist including shots at administrators who "have ensured they are very well paid" and at UCLA and Berkeley for "becoming more and more like private colleges for the elite". Those two themes are all that the Legislative staffers wanted to talk about! It was an entirely missed opportunity to drive home the main message.

More irony? An argument on a Berkeley faculty mailing list recently was that "the years with the big tuition spikes also saw a greater inequality in class diversity". The fact is that UC's seen an _increase_[5] in the fraction of low-income students over the past years as self-help levels have decreased from increased tuition, and that trend leveled off during the recent tuition freeze. But the original, incorrect argument was out, and appeared in local news coverage last week. Anybody think that helps UC with the State?

I do completely agree that we need to find a way to generate additional support from the State of California. I think that to do that, we have to stop emphasizing ways to make ourselves look bad to the State of California, both to the government and to the people. We, as faculty, seem determined to let our own political preconceptions and internal score-settling get in the way of getting any positive message across. We need to find a way to get past that, and start focusing on the main message: UC needs more money from the State, and that will make things better.

Example: I was invited to go with some students to talk to a local Legislator about UC support. About 1/4 of the way through a planned one-hour discussion, the students brought up the "$50 for the median taxpayer" idea, and the Legislator was blunt: "Get serious" ... "As soon as people find out what it'll really cost (mid-range) voters, it'd be suicide to have my name associated with it". The conversation was essentially over. An attempt at other topics went nowhere. The advice that the Legislator left the students with? "You need to give me good arguments _for_ more state support, not against it."

I certainly agree that I have trouble following fact-challenged arguments like Michael Merenze's two replies above. That's my point. They're not just wrong, they are counterproductive. They're clearly not helping generate more support for UC. That means we should stop making them, and focus on arguments that might actually work.


[1] At Berkeley, there are indications that the out-of-state tuition is already topping out. The in-state tuition might be able to grow to around $20-25K before anti-selection effects become large, or they might set in at a lower point.
[2] Scare quotes because, although they present their arguments as "strengthening UC" by solving their particular bete noir, in fact they're weakening UC; see below.
[3] http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article3924114.html
[4] Both before and after the tuition freeze period
[5] http://accountability.universityofcalifornia.edu/index/3.2.3

Bob Jacobsen said...

@Michael Meranze

"My point as was Chris's is that that financial aid is only partly covered by UC funds and that the other funds could be reconfigured and used for costs beyond tuition."

Pell grants are the only significant source of non-State, non-tuition funds. They vary, but have never been more than $8K a year. If UC tuition went down to e.g. zero, Pell students would be getting significantly less aid than they are now. They would have higher personally-funded costs than they have now.

The "other funds" that "could be reconfigured and used for costs beyond tuition" aren't enough. You should know that already. If they did, we'd be using them.

If you want to argue for state law changes that would result in _increased_ direct state aid to students (not current CalGrants, which only cover tuition, but something new/different), fine, go ahead. But to do that honestly you have to argue that the State will _increase_ its funding for UC students over what it's providing now just to replace the financial aid funds now sourced from the return-to-aid on non-aid student's tuition.

To put it another way, the high-fee/high-aid system is generating a large amount of living-expense aid for UC students that's not funded from the State, but instead from higher-income tuition holders. If you want to lower tuition, State law has to change to cover that too, in addition to replacing tuition.


Michael Meranze said...

@Bob Jacobsen
Hi Bob,

According to the California Student Aid Commission Cal Grants are not limited to tuition. Are they incorrect in saying that? Because if they are right that is a source that could be reconfigured as both my and Chris comments point out. And that is a large sum of funds.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Michael m

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the maximum Cal Grant award is set to whatever UC tuition is. I think they are awarded to the student, essentially as cash, so the student can technically spend them on whatever, but the intent is clearly that they offset tuition costs. So, in this way, for students who qualify for Cal Grants, and so long as the state continues to increase funding to Cal Grants as necessary, it doesn't matter how high UC sets tuition, as tuition will be offset for them by Cal Grants.

If return to aid is based on 1/3 of tuition, including tuition paid by the state through Cal Grants, setting tuition higher provides more money to the U's in return to aid that they can spread around to students to pay for non tuition costs, like room and board.

Part of the problem with all of these discussions is that UC seems to be uncomfortable talking about how aid money is distributed. A lot of this stuff, although Bob Jacobsen refers to some great resources, seems to get deemphasized in discussions of tuition and aid and return to aid. I speculate that there may be some fear that if wealthier families realized they weren't just on the hook, via return to aid, for the $12k in tuition for less wealthy students, but for a share of the $30+k cost of attending, that there would be a new outcry.

Anonymous said...

Anon2 reporting some interesting news. Fresno news media reported yesterday that Fresno State may NOT admit freshmen next fall in order to avoid a fee/tuition hike if state support drops. Both systems are playing a high stakes game of chicken.

Anonymous said...

Anon2 with some more thoughts about what Bob had to say re the $50 median taxpayer idea...

It is political suicide. That legislator is correct. Here in the Central Valley, many voters and taxpayers feel students should be paying more not less. The idea of "free" higher education to them sounds like just another entitlement program like food stamps or WIC.

To the students who complain, these folks say: "give up your iPhones and other expensive toys, your Starbucks, your nice cars, and your booze and drugs. Then we can talk."

Community members in Fresno would like a $500 per semester fee hike per student to support athletics.

Anonymous said...

Michael and Chris, I'll leave you two with these thoughts:

There are at least two generations of graduates who, because their parents' income was too high, did not qualify for financial aid (my brother and I are examples). My brother's school bills were paid for by my parents and by a summer job. It was a huge strain on my folks because they also had huge bills linked to my neurological deficits. I had to work too while in school, but the folks helped by having me live at home to save money.

The age group between 45 and up are products of this era. They saw deserving students who happened to be the wrong skin color not get aid. Over the years they've also seen the growth of edu-welfare - students staying in school long enough to get their check(s) and then bailing.

Understandably, they're just a little resentful. They then hear students and faculty crying about cost and that free higher education is a "right." Pardon me if it seems selfish but some folks would just like to give all of you a swift kick in the ass.

Those are the voters that legislator Bob talked with answers to.


Chris Newfield said...

I appreciate this very interesting conversation. I'm continuing to think about many of your points.

A few comments along the way: Anon2 you describe problems with financial aid that needed to be fixed when you were in college, and that have been partially fixed. And yet, though individual cases vary, the stats are quite clear that this current generation has levels of debt unimagined by we 45+ folks. I just don't see how the data justifies refusing to fix the current generation's debt and overwork problems on the grounds that it's better than what we got--since in the aggregate it's not! (I say this as someone who worked 15-20 hours a week to pay for food, transportation, books and rent while attending a private liberal arts college, and who then graduated with no debt.)

Some of the conversation invokes current political thinking as though it formed fixed rules. But the current political thinking is what backed us into this corner in the first place. Democrats and Republicans alike have cut UC and CSU with impunity, and defined any new tax, even a $50 tax, as an unimaginable burden on the taxpayers who have already received huge givebacks from UC and CSU via multiple half-billion dollar cuts. So the legislator in the Reset story is flying on autopilot, and will continue to treat students' needs with distain until s/he gets voted out of office for rejecting any version of public university solvency that does NOT involve higher tuition and higher debt. Faculty should help students formulate retorts to disrespectful stonewalling from elected officials, including trying to find better candidates for elective office (as Tea Partiers routinely do on their side) to run against them. Same for the concept of "political suicide." Everyone thought Howard Jarvis was a silly crank and that property tax caps were political suicide--until they became political genius. So we really need to stop giving up before we even start.

Bob, I think you're too censorious--too focused on all the things we shouldn't say lest the public get wind of it. The public already has wind of it on their own (20%+ exec salary hikes, admin bloat, non-compliance with AB 94 etc). UC hasn't helped itself by never raising problems before someone else does. It hasn't helped itself by refusing to admit mistakes. The lack of creativity in our revenue solutions--tuition hikes plus more institutional and individual debt--suggests we need a broader and more open debate than we have now, particularly within the faculty, where the Academic Senate seems increasingly closed and isolated from broader faculty opinion.

Chris Newfield said...

I should add that UC Berkeley officials should retire the Birgeneau Twist on traditional high-tuition / high aid apologetics--that the tuition freeze CAUSED a flattening of low-income admissions. I know of no evidence for this claim. As long as we're in the realm of speculation, it's as logical to trace the flattening low-income enrollments to the FinAid system's lock-in of student debt even at the lowest income levels, which took a few years to sink in.

Anonymous said...

Chris, hate to say this, but the public doesn't give a hoot about administrative bloat, AB 94 etc-at least the way you think they do. If anything, the typical voter views them in a Tea Partyish way-more big government that desperately needs to be downsized along with benefits and pensions.

Does that translate into support for cutting tuition? May be. But it would be at the expense of unionized employees. However the folks I talk with by and large see the university, its faculty and students as woefully out of touch with reality. They feel you need to feel the pain they've felt for the last six years.

One last thought: temporary taxes usually create a long term problem. In the case of Prop 30, the higher ed system obviously didn't do real planning for replacing that money when the tax goes away but the system is dependent on those bucks.

Unless the voters decide to extend Prop 30, the only sources are the general fund or fees/tuition. Given the fact CalPERS is going to have more money going out than coming in, the general fund may be hard hit to help make up the difference.

Yes, I agree the public may not like business as usual but (1) are they voting? And (2) is their likely solution-the gutting of pay, benefits and/or pensions-going to sit well with the ivory tower?


Chris Newfield said...

so cutting pensions is pure retaliation against people who recognized the value of defined-benefit pensions and hung on to them. I'm glad we got that out in the open.

Your "public" should be clamoring to get their defined benefit pensions back, rather than trying to wreck the last ones still standing. see, e.g. http://www.amazon.com/Retirement-Heist-Companies-Plunder-American/dp/1591845653/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417283624&sr=1-1&keywords=retirement+heist

I don't accept the ad hominem charge of being "out of touch with reality. It's a way of avoiding data, argument, and undesired conclusions. In any case, the "public" that wants to gut everything they think is of more benefit to their fellow citizens than to themselves is now barely one-third of the voting electorate. I'm sorry they have voted to impoverish everybody, including themselves, for the last 35 years, but their bad choices aren't going to determine the future.

Anonymous said...

Chris, Chris...

The voters I'm speaking of do include the demographic you speak of. However they also include younger people, recent graduates, university staff, and even current students who view things through a Libertian lens, which is the norm here in the Central Valley.

I recognize the coast and the three big metro areas tend to be more liberal in outlook. Personally, I tend to be a fiscal conservative and left moderate on social issues. But I'm surrounded by more than a few libertians. That's the Valley-even the Democrats are conservative here.

What you're proposing (like the $50 median taxpayer) would be extremely hard to sell here. I'd predict that, if it was put to a vote it would fail hugely-Prop 30 didn't fare well here at all.

Chris Newfield said...

It's a hard sell everywhere but it has to be sold, esp now that the white middle class can't have it handed to them by Uncle Pat and Uncle Lyndon even as they complain the whole time and vote against them. How about "save the middle class for your kids and neighbors--it'll cost you fifty bucks"!

Anonymous said...

Chris, if you can guarantee that the $50 will stay $50, you might have a chance of selling the notion, even here in the Central Valley. However our typical voter is cynical and usually doesn't believe anything the bureaucrats say-because they've been burned too many times.

Anonymous said...

Two comments about Chris Newfield's response to Bob Jacobsen:

1. The things that the public "already has wind of" are, in my opinion, mostly non-issues. As a member of CAPRA on the Berkeley campus, I can report that we did a detailed examination of the issue of "administrative bloat", and found that there was none at our institution; this was simply not a problem. (We were looking at the administration on our campus, not at UCOP, which might be a different issue in some respects, though I doubt that it is a problem that has grown worse in recent years.)

As for the executive salary hikes: the chancellors of our campuses are actually modestly paid by comparison with their peers--there are more than 80 presidents of public institutions in the US who make more than the current Berkeley chancellor makes! The constant whinging from UC faculty members about this issue perversely reinforces the governor's fantasy that we can maintain a world-class institution without a willingness to pay competitive salaries to the people who administer and teach at it. (The governor, it should be noted, also believes UC faculty are overpaid, and that they should regard the psychic rewards of their positions as part of their overall compensation. I submit that if we took this idea seriously, most if not all of our most distinguished faculty would soon leave for greener pastures.)

Finally, the AB 94 reporting requirements strike me as simply misguided: there is no meaningful way to separate out the costs of undergraduate instruction at a research university, where students have opportunities to learn from and to interact with scholars who are contributing to research in their fields at the highest levels. The fact is that an institution like the UC is inherently expensive, and we all need to face up to that reality. There are no easy economies to be achieved, at this point, that will not directly affect the quality of the activities that take place at our institution.

Bob Jacobsen's point, I take it, is not that we shouldn't be saying certain things in public, lest people get wind of negative developments on our campuses. It is rather that much of what concerned faculty complain about are in fact non-issues, by and large, and that complaining about such things has the perverse effect of reinforcing public misconceptions about a modern research university.

2. About "lack of creativity in our revenue solutions": I really don't think this is the problem. The UC has managed to muddle through the recent budget crisis, but going forward we are going to need additional revenues if we are to maintain our position as the preeminent public university system in the US. That is just our reality; there are no magic economies that will enable us to do more with less.

It seems that there are three possible solutions to this challenge: additional state funding; private philanthropy; and increased income from tuition. Everyone here agrees that the first solution would be the preferred one, by a wide margin, but it just doesn't seem very realistic in the current political environment, where even democratic politicians show little understanding of what it takes to run a modern research university.

We can decry the "high tuition/high aid" model all we like, but I just don't see any realistic alternative to it unless Sacramento proves willing to increase state support. (Philanthropy will also have to be at least part of the solution, but its potential is probably limited, especially outside of Berkeley, UCLA, and UCSF.) The fact that this model involves an implicit tax on high-income UC parents actually seems to me to be a feature not a bug, given the resistance of the affluent in the current political culture to contributing their fair share to maintaining important public goods.

If there is a "creative" solution that I'm missing here, then by all means please lay it out for me!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I agree with everything you say to a greater or lesser extent. I am concerned about too many layers of "management" - the flatter the org chart is the more efficient the organization tends to be in my experience.

As someone who's been very active with his local CSU campus, here's my perspective: since the 1980s the typical student sees the university as a place to obtain a degree and then get a job. The campus is merely a way stop along the life path. There's little emotional investment.

Given that lack of emotional investment, it's understandable that typical student-now an alumnus-might be loath to support higher taxes to lower tuition/fees.

The country is going through one of its pendulum swings, towards the right. While there's unhappiness with Wall Street and corporations, it's more of a populist unhappiness. While many people feel those responsible for the financial meltdown should be punished, there's no widespread demand by the average citizen that government should regulate business more.

As for student demands for "free" higher education: they're not selling it to the voting public. I've discussed this notion with numerous people. Their response is: what a bunch of ingrates, more socialism, another entitlement program, more "takers". It just won't sell in the current political climate. TV images of young people in black hoodies smashing windows, attacking cops, and terrifying small animals in the windows of the SF Macy's, and taking over university buildings don't help to sell the cause to Joe Citizen. Joe's more apt to say, "why aren't those scumbags in jail?" than "hell yeah, California higher ed should be free."


Chris Newfield said...

AnonDec1: I don't think you are a reader of this blog. We've been writing about alternative funding models for years. Here's a couple of posts from the crisis period: http://utotherescue.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/what-regents-should-do-instead-of.html post http://utotherescue.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/same-flat-revenues-same-flat-pitch-how.html . or another: http://utotherescue.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/regents-budget-strategy-stuck-between.html. Another: http://utotherescue.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/reframing-doomday-budget-discussion.html MIchael and I write a couple of posts during each budget period each year, so there are several dozen such posts, including many recent ones.

Your comment eloquently packages the plan UC has been following for several decades. It is what got us to this sorry state. I simply don't understand how UC folks can repeat the standard plan without noting that it has failed. We keep raising tuition (18 times between 1992 and 2012), we keep losing state funding, we keep fallen further behind. even 4% + 5% is about half of what UC needs to *start* closing its structural deficits. There's a lot on the blog about his, including a recent overview that Michael and I delivered at your campus a couple of months ago -- http://utotherescue.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/the-new-normal-what-does-it-mean-to.html

UC will not recover until we talk public concerns seriously and address them honestly and transparently. Your comment does not do this. Your remark about AB94 would be shocking in any industry or service in the world: that UC can't estimate the costs of a core product, undergraduate instruction. Accountants routinely generate cost estimates for bundled activities (all organizational activities are bundled!!) by making explicit assumptions and then applying them. The assumptions can be debated and changed, but the idea that we can't do this makes us seem dishonest and dumber than we say we are. We will stay in a decline trajectory until costs are publicized and we can prove that they are reasonable for their level of service quality. No governor has ever made this demand clearer than Jerry Brown, and we're all going to be very sorry that UCOP is still stonewalling and fooling around.

It would also be good to acknowledge that the negative effects of HITHA (high tuition high aid) have turned the country against it to an extent that cannot be overcome with comments like "there is no realistic alternative." Again, we have no credibility if we don't acknowledge the flaws, the suffering, the injustice that it inflicts for the sake of university revenues. You may still want it, but you can't get anywhere with anyone who has experience or knowledge of the financial aid system by brushing off these concerns as less important than keeping the status quo. The realistic alternatives all involve Sacramento "increasing state support," which Jerry Brown and the Dem leadership is united in saying will never happen when tuition increases force "increased state support" for financial aid (and not operations). This system has hit the wall.

Anonymous said...

Follow up thoughts as a result of news coverage this morning:

- Californians support lower tuition but they don't want higher taxes to pay for it. They want UC to find the money somewhere. Given that personnel costs make up the bulk of their budget, does that mean cutting staff including faculty-and eliminating programs. Or eliminating research on the State dime from the UC mission?
- I like the idea of zero based budgeting! Let the agencies justify each and every line item.


Chris Newfield said...

I'd also appreciate a link to CAPRA's report on the absence of admin bloat at Berkeley

Chris Newfield said...

Anon2: red states and red counties lag their blue-state cousins in most measures of income, health, educational levels, and quality of life. So at some point y'all are going to have to decide if 30 years of corporate substitutes for government has worked out for you or not. It's easy to be reactive to this or that TV image, but where has that gotten those folks exactly? This is all a bit childish, and meanwhile the US is losing its leadership in one industry after another, and takes up the rear guard on climate and security issues, can't really cooperate with anyone anymore, and is the model of political democracy for pretty much no one these days. So what's it going to be? UC could save some money by closing UC Merced and pulling out of the San Joaquin valley. I fought that suggestion when it was popular on many campuses in 2009, but would it have been worth it to save the median taxpayer a few bucks a year? Would you all want to convert the UC to a CC in Merced, since they are less expensive per student? Or cancel Fresno State's agricultural research since that cost a lot more money than teaching calculus courses? Seriously. It would be nice for people to think carefully about what they wish for.

Anonymous said...

Chris, it's not what I wish for. I'd love for all kinds of state support to be pumped into higher ed. Lower costs? Wonderful! It boils down to how it gets paid for.

I supported Prop 30-still do. And if the polls are correct, more than half of Californians do. Then we have Jon Coupal blaming Prop 30 for millionaire flight and questioning whether it was really needed in the first place in an op ed piece in the Sac Bee this morning.

I've said for years Californians love their government programs but want someone else to pay for them. At some point the tax money is gonna run out. Public safety isn't going to be cut. Transportation isn't either-not after the years of cuts we took. Are you willing to sacrifice "safety net" programs to increase state support for UC? What other ideas (besides tax hikes) do you have to increase state support? And by ideas I mean practical ones, not idealistic ones.


Anonymous said...

@Chris Newfield

About "taking public concerns seriously and addressing them honestly": by all means, let's do this where those concerns are legitimate. But we fundamentally disagree, I think, about the legitimacy of the most prominent public concerns. The "public", egged on by democratic politicians, is convinced that the UC is filled with overpaid and lazy senior administrators who award themselves dramatic raises while demanding ever more tuition income from our poor students. I think this is mostly just cheap demagoguery, which completely ignores the larger context within which the UC operates. To address this concern honestly would be to reject its premise, explaining that UC administrators are modestly compensated by comparison to their peers at institutions that are much less distinguished.

About AB 94: I agree that some aspects of the university budget can be disaggregated without distortion. We could e.g. provide a pretty accurate estimate of the costs separately incurred by maintaining our buildings and grounds, or by IT support and the like. But research and teaching seem to me to be a different kettle of fish. The modern research university is founded on the Humboldtian ideal of the unity of teaching and research, with students who are taught by people active in cutting-edge research, whose education consists in part in the opportunities the university provides to participate, directly and indirectly, in these research activities. The students we teach at Berkeley receive instruction by scholars who would not be there if the institution did not support their research at the highest level, and they are well aware of the value of this kind of education. In this context, the costs of supporting the research of the faculty are also contributions to the instruction of undergraduate students. We could allocate, say, 50% of faculty salaries to "instruction", on the assumption that faculty spend about half of their time on undergraduate educational activities. But I don't see how this would contribute to "transparency" about the university budget. On the contrary, it would contribute to the misconception that undergraduate instruction and research are entirely separate activities whose costs can hygienically be distinguished from each other.

I believe it was Charles Schwartz on the Berkeley campus who was very keen to promote this way of thinking of things. He was convinced that it was some kind of scandal that students should be expected to contribute more in tuition than the actual costs of providing their undergraduate education. But they are attending a research university, and there is no reason why they should not be thought to benefit in their undergraduate education from the research activities that their faculty are also engaged in. Once we accept the premise that we can meaningfully distinguish the cost of undergraduate instruction from the cost of research, the natural next step will be to treat these as completely independent activities. Jerry Brown, who is really no friend of the university, will point out that we could easily reduce the cost of undergraduate instruction by e.g. hiring cheaper adjunct faculty to teach our students, relying more on moocs, etc. The state will then be free invest in "research" in those areas that have immediate economic payoffs (such as electrical engineering), and the core research activities in the arts and sciences will mostly be left to the mercy of external funding agencies and foundations. The public calls for "transparency" are, I think, part of an agenda that is inherently hostile to the whole idea of a modern research university.

Anonymous said...

@Chris Newfield (cont.)

You think that the "realistic" alternative to the high tuition/high aid model is increased state support; I'm no political scientist, but I don't see that as very realistic in the current environment. You are right that Jerry Brown is adamant that the UC should not receive increased support from the state if it raises tuition further. But he certainly isn't proposing meaningful increases in state support if we don't raise tuition. On the contrary, he thinks we should be reducing administrative and faculty salaries, teaching more (and more efficiently), downsizing, and economizing.

Like Bob Jacobsen, I think that it would be helpful if UC faculty stood up for what we are doing in the face of public concerns that rest on ignorance and resentment. Our institution has great public value, but it is also inherently expensive, and there is no way to keep it going without substantially increased investment. You seem to agree, but then you immediately complain about our administrative bloat, our massive salary increases for overpaid administrators, our lack of budgetary "transparency", and so on. I continue to think that these are largely non-issues, and that our constant complaining about them just reinforces the misconceptions of the citizens and politicians of our state.

Chris Newfield said...

Anon: I agree that demagogy plays a huge role in discussions of CA higher ed, including on salaries. But I think UC should directly answer two questions: (1) why is there always money for special deals for individuals, often non-teaching / non-researching personnel; (2) why should a public university use wealthy privates as the "market" level it needs to match? Jerry Brown put (2) on the agenda at the last R meeting, and if it doesn't get answered well he's going to pursue his version of public, which is subprime.

As a fellow Humboldtian, I completely agree that research and teaching go together. But we can disaggregate it, be honest that undergrad tuition pays for a lot of university things that many undergrads don't directly access, and then explain why they get a lot out of it and when it's ok to charge them for it. This is less of a problem at lower tuition points. State funding provides an important subsidy for sponsored research, in an oddly unspoken state-federal partnership that most politicians seem never to have heard of. That state expenditure on research is easily justified (local jobs via research benefits, etc.), so the low-tuition / high state funding model is both more stable politically and potentially obtainable only if we level with the state's citizens about where their money goes and how it is use. That transparency is a necessary though of course not a sufficient condition. (btw I think Charlie Schwartz is pro-transparency not anti-research, and don't agree with you that transparency is a Trojan horse for a downgrading of the university. I also think it's a strategy with a confirmed history of practical failure that should be dumped on political as well as intellectual grounds.)

I'm all for faculty standing up, starting with standing for an alternative to the Jerry Brown downgrade that none of us want.

and I agree this isn't simple--which is why I want UC to try a lot harder to build a new alliance with the public.

Anonymous said...

This is the mood in the Central Valley re: cost cutting at UC and CSU:

- convert to primarily on line classes
- consolidate campuses and shut down x-number
- eliminate low demand majors--any major with 20 or few people in it should be consolidated on one campus

A comment here. I was reading the Education Should Be Free blog and saw being a student described as a "livelihood." To the average Joe Citizen that's repulsive. Statements like that reinforce the image some taxpayers have of higher ed being just another welfare program.

Chris Newfield said...

Anon2: tell Joe Citizen that being a serious student is a full-time job. On cost cutting, those of us who work in economically successful blue-county knowledge economies just aren't that interested in the austerity theories of people from economically lagging red counties. What you see in Fresno County, for example (http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/tpp/offices/eab/socio_economic_files/2012/Fresno.pdf), though it is the "most productive agricultural county in the nation," is per capita income that is 2/3rds the state average and an unemployment rate more than double the state average--it's still close to 17%. Fresno county has 46.1 thousand people working in ag, and 41.5 thousand in education and health. It has twice as many people working in professional services as work in construction. So you could convert Fresno State to 100% on line and kill a lot of the better paying jobs in the county, helping to increase an already ridiculously high unemployment rate, reduce the educational level of the future local employees of financial and professional services, making them and their industry less productive, and push more people into lower-paying jobs in sectors that have already maxed out (ag), or that will shrink (retail) as county incomes plateau or decline thanks to the online conversion plan. Same story in neighboring Merced county (just recently down somewhat from an 18.8% unemployment rate). Many people on 9 UC campuses would be happy to liquidate UC Merced and claw the money back to the already-richer blue counties. But why would the Central Valley go along with that? The "mood in the Central Valley" you describe is that of people who are digging their own graves. But whatever red counties do to themselves, they just don't have the economic track record that entitles them to lecture blue counties on how to tax and invest.

Anonymous said...

Chris, your comment above is the sort that, in the Valley, gets you tagged as elitist and out of touch with reality.

Many of the people who express the views outlined in my last post are college grads and Fresno State alumni. They believe that California needs to drastically downsize government and they don't see the need for 30 some campuses in the two systems. Most states get along just fine with a few. Why can't California, they ask?


Chris Newfield said...

Anon2: check the data. you can call me anything you want, and then you can cut yourselves some more, which helps the blue counties not the Central Valley --more university money for coastal "elitists," more barely-taxed income for San Francisco millionaires, more disposable funds for private schools for their kids. But in general, the blue counties aren't interested in being dragged down by the red counties that keep asking the wrong question. One example: Santa Barbara county almost split ten years ago--the red districts of north county wanted to form Mission County to get away from the environmental regs oppressively imposed on them by south coast liberals. Then they did the math, and realized they couldn't fund their own fire and police without south coast money, unless they greatly increased their taxes. So they changed their minds up there and we continue to send money from south county, which likes government, to north county, for their government which they say they don't like. A lot of south coast people said too bad, we could have gotten rid of these ungrateful dependents and had more to fix our own schools and roads and health services. I wasn't one of them, but you can see the point: most people who are working hard and doing well within an advanced economy are sick of having this same discussion we've been having for 35 years. Time to move on--hopefully with you all, but if necessary, without.

Anonymous said...

Chris, I agree with your call to fix UC and CSU. That said, you have to convince at least a few of those "red county" voters to agree to fix things. If they won't you're sunk.

Chris Newfield said...

I'm willing to talk to anyone anywhere in any context about higher ed. But they're going to have to do some convincing of their own selves.

Anonymous said...

Cool Chris. At the end of the day I hope everyone's prepared for what the Governor and the legislature gives you. On the surface those proposals sound reasonable to most people-in exchange for more state support there'll have to be greater efficiencies.

To those who argue graduation rates are terrible because of austerity the last few years, I can only say rates have been terrible since I was an undergrad in the CSU (I graduated in '78). There are a number of factors playing into that-not enough high demand course sections, students having to work (when fees were $100 a semester!), and the need to keep the FTE count up.

Anonymous said...

Adding to the above comment: I've been a student or involved in campus life since 1972. For 42 years, I've heard the same complaints: fees are too high, I can't get my classes, school should be free, they ought to be paying me to go to school here...

Nothing's changed.


Anonymous said...

I saw this in the SacBee this morning: UC never promised not to raise tuition if Prop 30 was passed. The CSU formally agreed not to hike fees, but according to the Regents (at least those representing them) they never agreed in writing (or in any other manner) not to if Prop 30 passed.

This will spur on the moves to take away UC's independent status and turn it into the high-rent version of CSU, with the Regents controlled by the legislature as the CSU Trustees are.


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