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Access to Higher Education

June 03, 1993

Re "Survival Through Reinvention," editorial, May 21:

You are right on target. The door to higher education is slamming shut. I'm paying a fortune to send my daughter to UCLA and she has spent a whole year there without being able to get into a biology course, which is her field of interest. There is no reason for this. All UCLA has to do is offer these oversubscribed courses on educational television. The advantages are numerous. A student does not have to fight traffic, parking, and they can live at home. An education over television is just as meaningful as an education obtained in a lecture hall with 300 other students.

The University of Arizona offers a master's degree in reliability engineering based on videotapes. This is an enormously popular program taken by executives from around the country. USC has for a long time offered courses to the aerospace industry over television. My wife took a course in education at Cal State Dominguez Hills. If she had a question during the lecture, she was able to call in and speak to the professor.

We can educate more people at a lower cost by means of technology. What is missing is the will to break away from the traditional ways of teaching.


Professor of Mathematics

Cal State Long Beach

* Statistics for many years have shown that it is far less expensive and equally effective to provide the first two years of a college education at the community college level, upper division undergraduate and many applied graduate programs at the California State University, and reserve most research and research degree training for the University of California.

Yet the California budget process, which allocates funds on the basis of numbers of students, effectively encourages the campuses to compete for bodies rather than specialize in their strengths and cooperate to provide the best and most cost-effective education.


Dean and Professor of Library, Emeritus

Cal State Dominguez Hills

* I applied to several law schools this year and will be attending a Midwestern, instead of Californian, law school next fall primarily due to the sky-high expenses of the California schools.

Until both public and private schools do something about the outrageous costs they have put on themselves, they force students down a path that in the long run is not helpful to the state. Those graduating with $40,000-$80,000 in loans may well choose careers with that debt in mind. For instance, law students may be tempted to go into more lucrative private practice areas and medical students may well go into higher-paying specialties as both groups initially deal with their education costs. What California really needs are more public interest and criminal lawyers, and wider access to affordable family health care.

Yes, many schools offer some scholarships for these lower-paying careers, but in most cases they are not nearly enough or are aimed at special applicants (e.g., nonwhite persons). California's private and public graduate schools must currently be attracting the rich or those primarily interested in making lots of money, because I don't see how they can attract anyone else.


Santa Barbara

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