Let’s undo the great mistake – make university tuition free

The deeper story here is what I call “the great mistake” in higher education policy. This occurs when a government mistreats a public good as a private good… we start a devolutionary cycle of knock-on effects. Unpayable student debt is one, the elevated stress and dissatisfaction of “generation regret” is another. More inequality among institutions is a third, as many widening participation-focused universities struggle to recruit students who are mopped up by richer, more selective universities. And if graduate numbers fall, as the latest UCAS statistics suggest could be possible, then overall workforce productivity will be lowered.

Read full article [here].
by Christopher Newfield, The Guardian.

In wake of critical audit, UC regents take a close look at president’s budget

Board Chairman George Kieffer opened Thursday’s discussion by noting that the state’s action — which he called “very wrong” — would require the university system to make substantial changes in budget management to make sure smaller campuses get their fair share of funds… The regents also voiced concern over the directive from Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature for UC to enroll 1,500 more California undergraduates in 2018-19 — without any guarantee of how much the state would chip in to cover the additional per-student cost of enrollment. Napolitano called that directive “fairly astonishing,” but said the state has asked UC to identify plans to pay for that growth by December.

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by Teresa Watanabe, The Los Angelese Times.

UC Regents Approve President’s Budget, Question Constitutionality of Legislative Control

The University of California Board of Regents reluctantly approved a new $797.5 million budget for the Office of the President, while questioning the constitutionality of new direct funding from the state Legislature… At Thursday’s meeting, board chair George Kieffer said he agreed with much of what State Auditor Elaine Howle found in her audit, but singled out the Legislature taking direct control of state funding as a “troubling incursion into the board’s authority.” … Kieffer said the university has asked outside counsel to weigh in on the constitutionality of the move. The change is authorized only for one year, but Los Angeles state Sen. Ed Hernandez has introduced a constitutional amendment that would enshrine stricter legislative control over the UC system in the state’s constitution.

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by Ryan Levi, KQED.

Liberals Can’t Ignore the Right’s Hatred for Academia

The conservative narrative about colleges and universities has several common complaints: They’re inhospitable to conservatives. Liberal professors indoctrinate their students. And left-wing students have become snowflakes—but also militant “social justice warriors.” In every instance, the evidence against these claims is stronger than the evidence for them… But even if the decline in Republicans’ regard for higher education is largely attributable to right-wing hysteria and hyperbole, liberals can’t afford to ignore it. The Pew poll has serious implications, for instance, for the funding and independence of public colleges and universities, which is increasingly under attack by Republicans.

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by Graham Vyse, The New Republic.

UC regents panel backs limited use of letters of recommendation at campuses systemwide

The University of California is headed toward allowing all campuses to use letters of recommendation in admissions decisions for the first time, despite concerns that the policy could hurt students who have less access to teachers and counselors who could artfully write the endorsements. As the system’s nine undergraduate campuses grapple with a record number of applicants — nearly 210,000 last fall — UC Berkeley has sought to invite letters from all prospective students… If approved by the full regents board Thursday in San Francisco, the policy will take effect when the application season for fall of 2018 begins, on Aug. 1. Letters will likely be used sparingly, since UC officials say 98% of admissions decisions are made using grades, courses, test scores, activities and essay responses on standard applications.

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by Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times.

Administrator raises not permitted by state law; CSU proceeds with auditor recommendations

Following the state audit of the California State University (CSU) system released in April, it was revealed that Cal Poly gave general salary increases (GSI) to administrators without evaluations on file. According to California state regulations, these administrator salary increases violated state law as they were not supported by merit-based evaluations. President Armstrong was criticized by faculty for the unjustified administrator salary increases during an Academic Senate meeting about the results of the audit on May 9. In 2015, the Academic Senate called for a hiring freeze on management positions until tenure density among faculty reached 75 percent and the student-to-faculty ratio reached 18:1. Meanwhile, tenure density — the proportion of professors to all faculty members — currently sits at 59.2 percent.

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by Aidan McGloin, Mustang News.

Cal Is F’ed Because Of Its Stupid Stadium Deal

The program ran a $22 million deficit last year, and a new apparel deal and a new naming rights deal for Memorial Stadium’s field will only take small chunks out of that gap… Tensions between Cal’s athletics and academics are nothing new, and this situation isn’t helping… The task force issued a report on its findings this week—you can read it below—and while they did not mention any specific remedies, things look incredibly dire: “Given its magnitude, it is virtually certain that interest expense will exceed IA’s operating income for the foreseeable future no matter what actions are taken regarding program scope in IA.”

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by Patrick Redford, Deadspin.

California lawmakers chip away at state’s college affordability crisis

California’s economy is one of the world’s largest, and according to a new report, the state needs 1 million more workers with bachelor’s degrees by 2030 to keep up with economic demand. California’s public universities may be among the most costly for high-income students, but they’re among the least costly for disadvantaged students. That’s because the state does more than most to supplement need-based federal grants with state grants, the institute has found. Each year, the state invests about $2 billion in scholarships called Cal Grants for roughly 360,000 students from low-income families. Those grants help cover the cost of tuition and fees for more than 60 percent of California State University students and more than half of those enrolled at a University of California campus or a community college.

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by Jessica Calefati, Calmatters.

UC on track to enroll 2,500 more Californians this fall, but admission offers decline from last year’s near-historic gains

The two students vied for seats in the most competitive year ever at UCLA, which became the first university in the nation to receive more than 100,000 applications from prospective freshmen — with room for only 5,950 of them.To fill that class, the Westwood campus admitted 16,494 applicants — down from 17,522 last year, according to University of California data released Thursday. Offers of admission to California residents fell by 10.8% over last year to 9,292… UC announced it is on track to enroll 2,500 more California undergraduates this fall, a target pledged to state lawmakers who have pushed to limit students from other states and countries in favor of additional local residents… Overall, UC offered admission this year to 106,011 prospective freshmen and 24,685 transfer students. Among them, 69,972 were California high school students, a decline of 1.7% from last year but an increase from 61,834 in 2015-16.

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by Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times.

UC Davis admits 60 percent of international students but 36 percent of in-state applicants

Among the nine University of California campuses that enrolls undergraduates, UC Davis admitted the highest number of international students for the upcoming school year, according to admissions data released Thursday. Out of nearly 14,000 international applicants, UC Davis accepted 8,415 students, an admit rate of 60.4 percent. By comparison, 18,480 California residents were accepted from the 51,425 who applied – a success rate of 35.9 percent. The number of residents admitted was slightly down compared to 2016, in line with the overall trend at other campuses… UC officials have defended the policy, noting that out-of-state students pay an average of $40,182 in tuition and fees annually, which is an important source of revenue for the institution. In-state students pay $13,500 in tuition and fees and are subsidized by the state.

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by Richard Chang, The Sacramento Bee.