By Johanna Fleischman
Citizens pay taxes in the belief that they will be returned through government services. What if they aren’t? The California State Universities (CSU) and Universities of California (UC) are state funded through sales and income taxes. In return for these tax dollars, residents receive reduced in-state tuition. Supposedly.
According to The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s student newspaper, the number of out-of-state students for the 2010-2011 year had risen 13% due to “insufficient state funding for California student enrollment” as reported by a campus statement from the UC Office of the President. For the upcoming 2011-2012 school year, UC Berkeley admitted class has only 73% in-state freshman, increasing international and out-of-state students. The UC system has resorted to higher out-of-state acceptances in order to reap the increased non-resident tuition.
Governor Jerry Brown famously proposed cutting one billion dollars from the university system—and 500 million of those dollars from the UCs—in an attempt to balance the state budget and help curb California’s debt. This has caused the UCs to raise tuition prices for the 2011-2012 year to approximately $11,000 to $14,000. At the same time, they also cap the number of students accepted.
Due to the massive budget cuts, Gov. Brown proposed that the UC tuition rates “could be $20,000-$25,000 for the whole year.” With an all-cuts budget, the UC system will not receive the funds needed to function: 55% of the education budget comes from corporate, sales, and personal income taxes. Another 22% of California’s education budget is paid by the federal government, which has also reduced education spending. The other 32% of the education budget comes from local property taxes and miscellaneous sources, such as the California Lottery.
Californians are paying taxes and not receiving benefits. The UC tuition prices have drastically risen during the last ten years; the tuition at UC Davis for the 2000-2001 year was $4,072, while the tuition for the 2010-2011 year was $13,080. Although traditionally UCs prefer in-state students over out-of-state applicants, in recent years the out-of-state tuition prices cause the UCs to prefer accepting them. For the 2010-2011 year, out-of-state tuition was $35,959.
Due to the lowered acceptance rate, the UC waitlists are also being extensively used for the first time. According to the Los Angeles Times, over 10,000 students were offered spots on the UCs’ waitlists. Waitlists are utilized after the university receives their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) from their accepted students. Although the students on the waitlist will not know if they have been accepted to that college until May, the results should demonstrate how the UC acceptances compare to last year’s.
The UCLA Admission Statistics (above right) demonstrate the full inequity of this situation. However, the blame cannot be placed on the University of California system: they are just as upset about the situation as are student residents. With inadequate state funding, the university believes accepting out-of-state students is the only way to maintain their excellent reputation.