Yesterday, the UC regents reluctantly voted to increase tuition by 7%, the 8th increase over the past 10 years. Greatful that the Governor supported education and included $98.5 million to restore most of the UC budget cuts from January, the regents and students were passionate about the need for the legislature to support this.
So on Wednesday at UCLA, the regents and students had an emotional and spirited debate about Jefferson, democracy, an educated citizenry, economic reality and the responsibility of the State to support public universities, and the future of UC.
CalGrants and other aid are helpful to students in families earning below $60,000, but middle class families are left to fend for themselves. And while these grants offset tuition, California’s high cost of living is making it more and more difficult for both low and middle-income families to send their kids to a UC school.
Leaders talk a lot about affordability and accessibility, and CEO’s across our state talk about the importance of supporting a great public education system, and investing in "human capital". Well, it is time for the legislature to take a hard look at their responsibility over the long term to our state colleges! It’s time for business leaders to step up and "put their money where their mouth is," and contribute more to the college aid and scholarship funds available to support our great young college students.
The legislature has some difficult choices to make as they debate the budget, and the future of our state colleges is as critical as any!