Are governors ignoring law when appointing UC regents?

“In the selection of the regents,” says the California Constitution, “the governor shall consult an advisory committee” of 12 people… But six committee members reached by The Chronicle said they are never consulted in the selection of regents — only told shortly before the announcement that choices have been made… “When they (the governor and Senate) appoint millionaires to the regents, they shouldn’t be surprised that their appointees think like millionaires and approve high administrator salaries or $300 dinners. After all, that’s their world,” Stanton Glantz, a UCSF professor and president of the Council of UC Faculty Associations, told The Chronicle. “The same Constitution that granted UC autonomy created a process to find regents who look like the people of California the university serves,” he said. “The politicians need to follow it.”

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by Nanette Asimov, The San Francisco Chronicle.

This is how much it costs California parents to live comfortably and send their kids to college

Turns out, the Golden State ranks as the 2nd highest state in which parents must make the most money to live comfortably and pay for their kids’ college. The survey, conducted by the financial website, GoBankingRates.com, shows that Californians need to make nearly $107,000 per year if they want to live a “comfortable lifestyle” while also paying for their children’s college education. The cost can vary widely through the state. For example, a family needs to make at least $110,000 if they live in San Francisco, but that number falls to only $44,000 if they live in a city like Fresno.

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by RJ Johnson, KIISFM.

California budget panel approves spending plan as talks with Brown continue

Thursday’s package reflects more than the $180 billion in general and special fund spending contained in the revised budget Brown released last month, with the exact amount still being calculated… Acting on the findings of a recent state audit castigating UC’s leadership, meanwhile, Thursday’s agreement will pay for the University of California Office of the President out of the general fund. The $296.4 million will replace assessments the office now collects on individual campuses, a situation that the Bureau of State Audits found had contributed to the university’s need for increased tuition.

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by Jim Miller, Alexei Koseff and Taryn Luna, The Sacramento Bee.

1 in 5 CSU students graduate in four years

Just 21 percent of the students who enrolled at a California State University campus in 2012 graduated in four years, far fewer than the system would like. Even though the number is low, it’s still up from 19 percent the previous year and higher than the 13 percent graduation rate in 2000. Yet it remains significantly shy of the 40 percent four-year graduation rate the university has set as a target for 2025. Currently, Jeff Gold said, the six-year graduation rate is 59 percent, and 33 percent of transfer students earn a degree two years later, while 74 have a degree four years later.

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by Emily Deruy, East Bay Times.

No Cal sports cut yet, athletics task force says

UC Berkeley’s Chancellor’s Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics released its report Monday and could not reach a consensus regarding cutting any of Cal’s sports teams. In the report, the task force recommended an external review of Cal Athletics’ finances and structure, focusing on potential cuts to administrative expenses which are “not directly related to sports programs.” Cal Athletics has come under fire in recent years for its large deficit, which stood at about $22 million in fiscal year 2016. The campus holds more than $400 million of debt after seismically retrofitting California Memorial Stadium and building the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance in 2012. The athletic deficit has compounded a campuswide fiscal crisis, during which campus administrators have scrambled in recent years to address a structural deficit of more than $100 million.

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by Hooman Yazdanian, Austin Weinstein and Bobby Lee, The Daily Californian.

When California and the UC system fight, the state’s kids and its economy lose

Gov. Jerry Brown is withholding $50 million from UC in his budget proposal. State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa) wants to amend the California Constitution so the Legislature controls funding for the UC Office of the President and can reshuffle the Board of Regents. And another state senator, Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) suggests that any time UC pays a certain number of administrators more than the governor earns, it should face restrictions, including on its ability to raise tuition. All of this stems from a state audit — the eighth related to UC in four years — released in late April. It accused UC President Janet Napolitano’s office of maintaining a secret fund of $175 million. The audit also excoriated UC for paying administrators more than other public-sector employees in similar jobs, and accused Napolitano of interfering with surveys that campuses filled out as part of the audit.

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by Karin Klein, Los Angeles Times.

At Cal State, algebra is a civil rights issue

But a recent move by CSU affecting students transferring from community colleges threatens to undermine community college efforts to do the same. The culprit is Intermediate Algebra, a high-school level course of technical procedures that most college students will never use, either in college or in life. To meet the Intermediate Algebra standard, they are often required to take two years of remedial courses that don’t count for transfer credit at CSU. As a result, every year, more than 170,000 California community college students are placed into remedial math based on how well they do on a standardized test in algebra.

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by Christopher Edley, Jr., EdSource.

Investigation revealing Chancellor Dirks’ $4,990 misuse of public funds cost university $57,671

An investigation into outgoing Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ misuse of public funds, which revealed he failed to pay $4,990, cost the university a total of $57,671 to carry out — more than 10 times the cost of the misused funds — according to invoice documents obtained by The Daily Californian. In order to obtain this information, Public Interest Investigations, Inc., investigated over five months, from May to September 2016, for a total of 279 billed hours at $200 an hour. In addition to billed hours, Public Interest Investigations, Inc., included receipts for airfare, parking, restaurants, Lyft rides and hotels used by Keith Rohman, president of Public Interest Investigations, Inc., as he traveled back and forth from Los Angeles to Oakland.

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by Audrey McNamara, The Daily Californian.

UC reverses policy, won’t pick up tab for regents’ parties

The University of California will no longer pay for its governing board members to throw themselves dinners and parties after a Chronicle report showed that the regents regularly billed the university for their festivities. Longtime Regent Richard Blum, a wealthy financier and former chairman of the board, said the policy change was his idea. After reading The Chronicle’s story Sunday, Blum said he called Napolitano and suggested it. “I said, ‘Janet, it’s not worth the aggravation. Let’s have the regents pay for their own dinners,’” Blum told The Chronicle. “I just called Janet and said, ‘Look, for the amount of what it costs to have a dinner, let’s have everyone pay for their own dinner. And if they can’t pay, I’m happy to pick it up.’”

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by Nanette Asimov and Melody Gutierrez, San Francisco Chronicle.

The Assault on Colleges — and the American Dream

Some of the biggest declines have been in the University of California system, which has long been the most economically diverse place in elite higher education. On the San Diego campus five years ago, 46 percent of freshmen received Pell grants. Last year, the share had dropped to 26 percent. When I first saw that number in The Times database, I figured it was a typo. It wasn’t. The United States is investing less in college education, at the same time that the globalized, digital economy has made that education more important than ever. Gaps between college graduates and everyone else are growing in one realm of society after another, including unemployment, wealth and health. Given these trends, the declines in state funding are stunning. It’s as if our society were deliberately trying to restrict opportunities and worsen income inequality.

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by David Leonhardt, The New York Times.