UC and CSU in fiscal crisis

Meghan Helms
Asst. A&E Editor

The state’s current financial crisis is increasing tuition while cutting admission and course options in California’s public colleges and universities, making graduation in four years more difficult to achieve.

“Admission to a UC or a CSU will be more selective because there will be an increase in students and decrease in enrollment,” said Rebecca Wandro, College counseling Director.

The University of California system has raised tuition by 9.3 percent to cover a $450 million budget shortfall, raising tuition by $662 for resident undergraduates.

UC Berkeley is cutting library hours, buying less expensive food for the cafeteria, reducing housing and increasing class size, according Marisa Conroy (’09) who attends school there.

“I love going to the library, and I can’t believe they’re doing this to us,” said Conroy. “Students shouldn’t be paying the price for the state’s mistakes.”

UC’s are going to admit hundreds of out-of state students, starting next year, to make up for budget cuts with the higher tuitions that out-of-state students pay. UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego are the main schools that will be affected.

California State Universities have increased tuition by 10 percent due to a $584 million decrease in state funding from last year. Students and faculty members are required to take two days off a month to decrease salary and facility costs.

“We talk about the budget cuts literally every single day in class,” said Mollie Davis (’09), who currently attends San Francisco State University “It’s something that the students as well as teachers on campus are extremely passionate about. There are protests and walk outs [almost] once a week.”

Some class sizes at CSUs have increased drastically and some UC class waitlists are longer. Over 300 students are enrolled in Davis’s astronomy class and a physiology class at her school has over 700 students.

“In my Intro to Ethnic Studies class I had to sit on the stairs during class for the first couple weeks because in addition to the class being over-enrolled, the students trying to add the class took the seats from those who were already enrolled,” said Jessica Zablah (’09), also at SFSU.

Most private colleges, which usually cost more than public institutions, make it easier to fulfill major requirements in the standard four years. The overall cost of four years of private school is close to the cost of five years or public school, according to Wandro.

“If I remain at State to get a degree, at the rate of classes being filled and what not, I am fully aware that it will probably take me five years, as opposed to the typical four, to fulfill my studio art major,” said Zablah.

Because of the intense competition to get into a UC or CSU, community college is becoming better option for some high school students since some guarantee students a transfer spot at a UC or CSU.

“Students need to apply broadly to the UC and CSU system to keep their options open,” said Wandro.

Despite the budget cuts, UCs are still offering financial aid totaling almost $2 billion in 2008. The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which is also not being affected by budget cuts, covers students from low-income California families.

Students should focus on taking a challenging course load that is appropriate for them during high school to put themselves in a good position for getting into any college regardless of the current financial situation, according to Wandro.

“I really would encourage students not to let this [financial situation] dampen their prospects because they are in a good position here at Convent as colleges are always impressed with our students,” said Wandro

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