Proposal to make UCLA MBA program self-supporting halted

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Efforts to make the UCLA Anderson School of Management financially self-supporting were halted Friday after a committee in the UC Academic Senate voted to suspend further review of the school’s proposal.

The school’s MBA program failed to meet any of the requirements outlined in university policy on self-supporting graduate degree programs, according to a letter sent to the school by the senate’s Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs. The committee voted 10-0-1 to suspend the review.

The policy — adopted by the university in September 2011 — requires that self-supporting programs meet one of four criteria, including serving “non-traditional” students such as full-time employed students or international students, holding classes at off-campus locations, offering alternative instruction methods like Internet-based teaching models and allowing classes to take place during nonstandard hours at night or on weekends.

According to the letter, by becoming self-supporting, the committee said the school would not increase access for more students than those who are already being served by the state-supported MBA program, which is also part of the policy requirements.

Self-supported graduate programs “were meant to accommodate the schedule of someone who has a full-time job and serve people who were not being served before,” said Donald Mastronarde, a UC Berkeley professor of classics and vice chair of the committee. “This program was not for another location, weekend or evening. It was basically the same program that (is currently) there.”

A 2011 proposal submitted by the school found that becoming self-sufficient would allow the campus to redirect more than $6 million in state funds but did not address the financial ramifications on the program should its endowment not remain stable — another concern raised by the committee.

UCLA spokesperson Phil Hampton said in an email that the campus is now evaluating the committee’s letter and plans to remain committed to seeking approval of the proposal.

According to the letter, the proposal will not be reviewed any further until the university modifies the existing policy on self-supporting programs or the school submits a new, revised proposal.

The proposal was first approved by the Legislative Assembly of the UCLA Division of Academic Senate in June and drew criticism from members of the UC community who argue that letting the Anderson School of Management become self-supporting could prompt other schools around the university to also become self-supporting. The letter asked that this concern be addressed through a systemwide investigation.

Darius Kemp, UC Student Association organizing and communications director, said the association has not yet taken a stance on this issue but generally opposes any sectors of the university system from becoming independent of state funds.

“We don’t approve of any privatization of the UC system,” Kemp said. “We look at it as not serving the people. The students of the UC system put a lot of money and effort and time … into these schools.”

However Michael Malenitza, an MBA candidate at the Anderson school and president of the Anderson student association, which supported the proposal when it was first approved, said that many students were disappointed by the committee’s decision because becoming self-supporting would have eliminated the unpredictable tuition increases that have recently affected students at the school.

“I have students that reach out to me not about the tuition increase, but about the last minuteness of that,” Malenitza said. “If we are able to move toward self supporting the budget would be much more predictable. ”

Contact Alyssa Neumann at [email protected]