A multibillion-dollar building boom is under way at U.S. universities and colleges—despite budget shortfalls and endowment decline. Some $11 billion in new facilities have sprung up on American campuses in each of the last two years—more than double what was spent on buildings a decade ago… The University of California system has $8.9 billion in construction going up at its 10 campuses and five medical centers, and the California State University system has $161 million. Since 2008, California has cut $2.65 billion in operating money from its public universities, which have responded by reducing enrollment, dramatically increasing tuition and laying off employees. At UC campuses, student fees rose 18 percent this year. Since the beginning of the fiscal crisis, 4,400 employees have been laid off and 3,570 positions have been eliminated in the UC system… the cost of paying interest on construction bonds does come out of operating funds—a staggering $1.1 billion a year in California alone, more than double the amount of 10 years ago.
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by Jon Marcus, Washington Monthly.