11/19/09

The 32% UC fee hike

The Regents of the University of California voted to raise tuition fees 32%. Formally, UC says California residents pay no tuition for a UC education but that's a load of crap.

There are protests of course.
"The noise of protesters came through the window as the regents voted. It was only lightly discussed, with UC President Mark G. Yudof urging that students explore all the financial-aid possibilities so they don’t get scared away or drop out."
Another load of crap. President Yudof is telling students to borrow money to pay for their education. And why not, that's what California does to pay for everything--borrow money. Heaven forbid anything be paid for out of general revenues. Better to pass a bond measure instead.

UC does a terrible job explaining the reality of borrowing money to college students. Yeah, you borrow $40k (minimum!), but you pay back so much more. Students financing a four-year degree on loans will be paying those loans back well into middle age. Down payment for a house? Forget about it.

And as a UC alumnus myself I hate to say this, but the quality of a UC education is not so great. Really, it's a lot of political propaganda. It may seem vital when you're young but it's not very useful beyond your 20s.

Community college instructors are better teachers, hands down. Unless you're getting a degree in the hard sciences, I see no reason to attend any UC. You can get an equivalent or better education in the liberal arts from a school in the state university system.

Which is not to say that this whole thing doesn't suck. It does. It especially sucks for students half-way through. They talk about having to go to a community college.
"Mark Villela, a junior at UCLA, also said he would probably have to drop out of school and attend community college in his hometown of Palmdale."
Honey, you're junior. There is nothing left for you to take at a two-year community college. Get a part-time job and transfer to State.

8 comments:

queerbychoice said...

It's true. As an entering freshman at CSU Sacramento, I wasn't entirely happy about being in the CSU system. But as a graduating senior with no student loans or debts of any kind whatsoever, I was extremely happy about it. And I've just kept being happier and happier about it in all the years since.

Matt said...

With one kid in a community college and another just two years away (& set on a university), this increase got my attention too. California appears to be pricing itself out of the education market just like everything else. Thanks for a connected point of view.

Phillip said...

They were just talking about the protests on Good Morning America. That is quite a tuition hike. I think ours went up 8% this year and students went nuts over that. I can see how 32% would send them over the edge.

Wondering Woman said...

Wait until they start paying the bills for the massive debt our govt is running up. They'll be wishing they were only facing higher tuition.

Kelly said...

As a community college professor I want to thank you for the compliment! The depressing thing is that the cuts to community colleges mean that we are able to offer only about 75% or less of what we offered two years ago. Our registration for spring is almost completely closed in key requirements like math and English. I am sad about what has been done to access to higher ed in this state. :-(

Brad B said...

Glad you posted about this. Unfortunately it's just part of a larger trend of less funding for education, and the increase in prices for public universities. I heard recently that the University of Michigan is something like $30,000 a year. Basically the same as a private school. I'm glad I went to a UC school for several reasons, but I agree about the actual teaching. Some of my best teachers were GSIs (graduate student instructors).

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lostlandscape (James) said...

I went to a couple UCs and now work for them. The students are definitely getting the worst deal in the current economic crunch. As much as education purports to be about the students actions like this make you wonder about the priorities of the state and the regents. It's also a pretty sucky deal for much of the UC staff as well--unless you happen to be one of the higher-end administrators that have seen their wages inflate along with all the corporate CEOs.