Yudof approves UCLA proposal to make MBA program self-supporting

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UC President Mark Yudof approved the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s proposal to change its full-time MBA program to self-supporting status last week.

Previously, the programs costs were covered by a combination of state funds and student tuition. Following Yudof’s decision, the program will be covered mainly by student tuition.

“I appreciate the fact that (Yudof) is supportive of this approach,” said Anderson Dean Judy Olian. “This is the sixth self-supporting program at Anderson. This is the natural progression.”

Yudof announced his approval and explained his decision on June 24 in a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. As the UC Board of Regents delegated the authority for setting self-supporting charges to the president, the decision was ultimately Yudof’s.

“In all respects, the Anderson School and all its degree programs are expected to retain the characteristics of the great public research university that is the University of California,” Yudof wrote.

In his letter, Yudof also stated three conditions that his approval is subject to: The program must not use state funds or tuition from students in other programs; the program must continue to ensure that financial aid is offered for “financially needy” students; and the program must adhere to the specifics of the self-supporting policy on graduate professional degree programs.

Olian stated that the business MBA program will remain unchanged, including current tuition levels.

“It’s a mistake to think that state support has protected students from tuition increases,” Olian said. “Under state support, tuition increased.”

Yudof also acknowledged in the letter that the UC Academic Senate did not support the action but that he believes this action represents a compromise between two competing views.

“The Academic Senate was basically concerned from a policy standpoint that we didn’t conform to the recommendations for a self-supporting program,” Olian said. “We provided data that showed otherwise. Yudof saw both sides and made his decision.”

Olian said that the only changes to the MBA program will be improvements in assigning and compensating faculty.

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Dean Richard Lyons said in a statement that he was delighted that Anderson succeeding in getting approval for the transformation.

“Dean Judy Olian has been bravely pursuing the goal of gaining maximum financial flexibility over this program so that it can continue to do well in a rapidly changing operating environment,” Lyons said in the statement. “We share in that overall goal at Berkeley-Haas but have taken a different path to achieve it.”

Lyons stated that the undergraduate business program at Haas will not change and will continue to receive state funding.

Contact Sohan Shah at [email protected].