Group of former chancellors pushes for drastic tuition hikes

A group of former University of California chancellors suggest raising tuition to about $24,000 for in-state students and increasing the number of out-of-state and international students in a report sent to UC President Mark Yudof Aug. 4 and made public in October.

In late June, former chancellors Richard Atkinson and Charles Young assembled 20 other former UC chancellors to discuss the university system’s future and reach a consensus on how to maintain the current quality of the UC system in response to the increasing budget cuts and rising tuition, said Karl Pister, former chancellor of UC Santa Cruz.

Yudof attended the second day of the threeday meeting to speak with the chancellors for an hour and a half.  He explained the current pressures facing the university system and discussed what could and could not be done under the current circumstances, according to Robert Dynes, former UC president and chancellor emeritus of UC San Diego.

Yudof agreed with the points the chancellors made, but he made no comment on whether or not he will accept or recommend any of the points made, according to Pister.

Yudof thanked the former chancellors for bringing a very special perspective and understanding to the issues that the University of California is facing, according to UC spokesperson Steve Montiel.

However, Montiel added in an email that there was no connection between the letter from the former chancellors and ongoing work on obtaining multiyear funding commitments from the state,  which was discussed at the September UC Board of Regents’ meeting.

“We’re not laying out a road map,” Dynes said. “We hope to give the current president some advice.”

With deep state funding cuts, the board is looking at all sorts of ideas, Montiel said. The university is trying to address a $2.5 billion funding gap that it will be facing in the next few years.

“There are really no alternatives — either the state puts more money in, which they aren’t doing right now, or the consumers, the students, have to put more money in,” Pister said.

The UC Regents approve tuition increases as a reaction to decreasing state funding for higher education, which is not a stable system for the future, according to the chancellors’ report. Decreased state funding is leading to students having to pay more while eroding student services.

Former UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale said he was concerned five years ago about public universities’ competition with private institutions, and he is still concerned now.

The plan suggested that the university needed to become more “self-sufficient” by becoming increasingly privatized.  The plan states that UC graduate professional schools are the most likely candidates for a move to financial independence if the “current level of excellence” is to be maintained.

However,  the most important aspect the chancellors felt was necessary to maintain the quality of the UC system was the faculty.

“If you can’t keep the faculty we have, the whole thing would collapse,”  Pister said. “That puts a tremendous effort on resources to keep the faculty.”

The next Regents meeting is scheduled for Nov. 15-17, and the Regents may act on a budget at this meeting, Montiel said.

“The next step is for the Regents to take some action,” Pister said.

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