Governors Schwarznegger and Brown broke our Universities

Will you pay $31 to fix them? college_grad

Since 2000, California’s governors have sucked public investment away from UC, CSU and California’s community colleges — spiking tuition and student debt and knocking tens of thousands of hard-working, qualified students off the ladder of opportunity.

The UC Regents’ decision in November, 2014 to hike tuition 5% a year for 5 years is a direct response to Governor Brown’s slashing of UC’s budget, which is still $173 million (in real dollars) below what it was when he took office despite the fact that UC has enrolled at least 8,500 more students since then is finally forcing a discussion of the key question:

Will Governor Brown and California’s other political leaders restore the promise of high quality affordable higher education for all Californians?

Here are some financial facts:

• In 2001-02, Gov. Gray Davis provided $3.2 billion ($4.4 billion in 2014 dollars) to the University of California. Tuition was $3,964.

• On taking office in 2003, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cut UC’s budget by 15% to $2.7 billion and pressed for rapid tuition hikes to shift costs on to students and their families. By the time Gov. Schwarzenegger left office in 2011, he was providing just $2.9 billion to UC. Tuition had tripled to $11,279.

• Brown cut UC’s provision to $2.4 billion in his first budget (2011-12).

• While Brown has provided small increases to UC in the last 3 years, his 2014-15 budget only includes $2.8 billion for UC, more than one-third less (in real dollars) than Gov. Davis provided more than a decade before.

• At the same time that governors have cut support for UC by one-third, the university’s student body has grown by nearly one-third: from 183,000 to 238,000 students as UC continued to meet its Master Plan obligations.

• While Governor Brown appealed to UC students to help pass Proposition 30 in 2012, he has only allocated 4.5% of the money it raised to UC.

The fix is affordable.

For just $31 a year for the median California family we can restore California’s world-class higher-education system and empower this generation to drive California’s future.

What would this mean for California students and their families?

• Fees at UC would drop by 60% to $5,364 (from $13,200), by 55% for CSU to $2,488 (from $5,472) and by 68% to CCC to $298 (from $920).

• Almost all new student debt for UC students and most new debt for CSU students would be eliminated.

• Community colleges could serve all eligible students without forcing them into expensive for-profits that leave students with nothing but mountains of debt.

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