Post Academic

Broke-Ass Schools: So Goes the UC, So Goes the Nation?

Posted in Broke-Ass Schools by Caroline Roberts on March 24, 2010
Tags: , , ,

The University of California has released suggestions for easing its budget crisis. Some of the suggestions seem genuinely reasonable, but they raise legitimate questions. Here’s a list of the suggestions, followed by Post Academic comments:

1. Establishing three-year degrees: Many students graduate in three years to save money, so the university is changing to fit student habits. However, the three-year plan all depends on the major. For example, since engineers are so vital to everyone’s safety, perhaps they should stay in a little longer.

2. More online courses: Uh, since when did the UC become the University of Phoenix? Then again, other states, such as Massachusetts, have incorporated more online courses. They should probably be an option for juniors and seniors, though, as students need to develop the discipline to see online courses through. Someone who has just entered college and who isn’t being monitored by parents and teachers is more likely to blow off a course.

3. More out-of-state students: This one seems inevitable. But what about all the students from California who are applying to UCs?

4. Making Berkeley and UCLA more expensive: What are the other schools, chopped liver? Option No. 3 would be preferable to this, as it would punish students who got into Berkeley or UCLA and happened to live nearby. They shouldn’t have to go a long distance and pay the dorm fees if they don’t want to.

What suggestions would you offer? What is the UC overlooking, and is there anything that other systems can learn from these choices?

UC panel proposes three-year bachelor’s degrees, other big changes [Los Angeles Times]

3 Responses to 'Broke-Ass Schools: So Goes the UC, So Goes the Nation?'

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  1. Len said,

    Come on, UC — these proposed solutions leave me feeling depressed. They are gimmicks that may work for a little while. You can bring in only so many out-of-state students, and the online market is pretty saturated. Establishing international campuses is another gimmick UC didn’t mention — this is the “University College” idea that many campuses (including UMass) are pursuing. The other day, some search led me to stumble upon a webpage of the University of Maryland at Kwajalein. I was flabbergasted at the idea that many people born in the Marshall Islands may go to the University of Maryland … without leaving the islands. Does their tuition money go back to Maryland?

    I think the only solution is political. Tax rates are lower than at any point since World War I, and the public sector is basically getting starved out. Goldman Sachs, which got $10 billion in our money in 2008, paid only $14 million in taxes. That’s a tax rate on their profits of about 1%. Meanwhile there are several new Lloyd Blankfein endowed Professors at Harvard. It’s absurd.

    There’s plenty of money for schools out there but it’s not getting collected.

    • Arnold Pan said,

      You’re right, that the solution is political. Some folks have told me that students and agitators should stop protesting Mark Yudof and focus on Sacramento. That isn’t to say that Yudof and the UCOP haven’t totally botched the PR on this thing, but tying him to all the horrible things that are happening in the world isn’t a red herring that will help ease the budget crunch.

      As for some of this proposal, I don’t get the 3-year plan. I’ve always heard people are need 5 years to finish at Berkeley and more-than-4 years at UCI isn’t that unusual. And now they’re talking about a 3-year degree. Do they get a different degree from the “standard” 4-year degree?

  2. Len said,

    Yup, I don’t understand it either. Calling for students to finish in three years at a time when Berkeley students are having to stay five years because they can’t get into overenrolled pre-req classes seems like doublespeak to me. Is part of the impulse “Hurry up students, make some space” and another part “Let’s create some second-class majors”? Either way, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

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