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9/24 to 11/17- The Struggle To Save UC


With most of the budget reductions planned or in place, the remaining budget balancing mechanism proposed by UC is an additional 30% fee increase that would be phased in over the coming year.  These fee increases would generate $117 million for 09/10 and $292 million for 10/11. UC President Yudof is already campaigning for the fee increase in the media and he's focusing his message directly at the students.  Here's a link to an essay based on his comments at the Regents meeting on September 16th.

Yudof's main thrust is that students must pick up the tab where the state left off, or else.  Failure to pay their own way will result in a laundry list of painful things, including having to face demoralized staff and receiving devalued degrees.  Many of the potential conditions Yudof describes are already happening.  The first day of classes this year was chaotic, not because faculty and students walked out, but rather because so many students were crashing classes due to significantly curtailed course schedules.

UC has been citing the reduction in per pupil funding from the state to justify a proposal to increase student fees by a total of 40% over one year.  There is significant evidence that the actual per pupil cost of delivering an undergraduate education is far less than UC claims. In fact, by some estimates the $9560 paid by the state per pupil easily covers the cost of delivering the courses taken by the student and administrative overhead.

So why the increase in student fees?  Here are a few theories.  UC is still cheaper than comparable public universities around the country, CSU just increased their fees by 30%, and any additional income generated through the fees can be invested in the Short Term Investment Pool with interest going to supposedly restricted university accounts.   

Fee increases are arguably the most permanent of any of the changes currently being implemented by Yudof and the Regents.  UC can stop the furlough program, rehire staff and lecturers, and increase enrollments, but rolling back fee increases will be next to impossible. These fee increases are based on UC's estimate of the cost of providing an undergraduate education.  UC's calculation is unlikely to change in favor of a reduction in fees.  

If we dispute UC's estimate of the cost of providing an undergraduate education, and if we are opposed to a downsized and more expensive UC that is funded mostly by student fees and other private sources, then we must do everything we can to stop these fee increases before the Regent's meeting on November 17.

So, where do we go from here?  How do we stop this seemingly unstoppable action by the Regents with only a few weeks time? Fortunately, the September 24th actions activated a large number of UC stakeholders.   The only way we can stop the increase is by working in coalition with students, other faculty, and anyone else we can reach who cares about the UC.  

Here are some ideas:


  • In the short-term, focus all organizing around the state on stopping the fee increase
  • Hold a forum on every campus by October 15 to discuss strategy for stopping the fee increase 
  • Find an alternative and nearly equivalent funding source within UC
  • Punch holes in the need for $400 million based on the real cost of providing undergraduate education
  • Lobby the Regents and local administrators heavily with alternative options
  • Lobby state legislators, focus on higher ed committee, with information about fees and funding
  • Start a media campaign highlighting the benefits of an affordable UC
  • Across the board resistance to the increase right up to the Regents meeting in L.A., unless proposal is pulled from meeting agenda



Budget Crisis