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A first: UC fees exceed state funding

Propelled by budget crises, California is becoming more like other states in passing more of the burden of a college education on to students.

August 22, 2011|Larry Gordon

UC expects to collect $2.9 billion in tuition this school year, up from $2.56 billion last year. The state is to provide $2.4 billion in general funds and lottery money, down from $2.9 billion last year, and that funding could drop if tax revenues weaken. The university's total budget, including hospital revenues, federal research grants and donations, is $20 billion; UC leaders note that most of that money is restricted and cannot be used for undergraduate education.

One way UC has tried to raise revenue has been to enroll more out-of-state undergraduates, who pay significantly more than California residents. The goal is for nonresidents to make up about 10% of UC undergraduates, still far fewer than at top public schools elsewhere. This fall, UC Berkeley will have the system's largest share of non-Californians, nearly 30% of freshmen. UC San Diego and UCLA are next, with about 18% each.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, August 26, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 54 words Type of Material: Correction
University of California: An article in the Aug. 22 Section A about the University of California's finances and tuition said the university was founded in 1869. A single campus at first, UC opened its doors to students in 1869 but was established by legislation signed by then-Gov. Henry H. Haight on March 23, 1868.

The University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus, which has seen sharp state funding cuts over the last two decades, is sometimes seen as a possible model for UC. About 40% of students in last year's freshman class at Michigan were from out of state, and the campus is boosting its recruitment worldwide. It has closed some research centers and increased alumni fundraising. Undergraduate fees vary by academic divisions, and the university's business school has moved to mainly private funding.

With such tactics, Michigan has been able to maintain financial aid for needy students and protect unprofitable academic departments, including the humanities, that have suffered deep cuts at other schools, said John Burkhardt, a Michigan education professor who directs the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good.

He said the campus is a hybrid, its public mission unchanged but its financing increasingly private.

UC is considering similar actions. The regents are debating whether campuses should charge undergraduates varying tuition levels, and UCLA's Anderson School of Management wants to wean itself from state subsidies in exchange for higher tuition.

Deeper reforms are needed, said Steve Boilard, higher education director of California's Legislative Analyst's Office. Among other areas, he said, UC should increase online classes, eliminate duplication of academic departments and study whether professors devote too much time to research and not enough to teaching.

As students pay more, he said, they deserve an "improved, modernized" university.

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larry.gordon@latimes.com

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