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University of California: Another Year of Student Protests?

During the last school year, Californians witnessed massive student protests at UC Berkeley, UCLA and other UC campuses in reaction to spiraling tuition increases.

Californians should probably prepare themselves for round II of student protests.

Jerry Brown, in one of his first acts as governor in the cash-strapped state, has released proposed budget cutbacks that would slash $500 million from the 10 UC campuses. That would bring state support to the UC campuses back to the level it was in 1999 -- and there were tens of thousands of fewer students then.

In reaction, UC President Mark Yudof called it a "sad day" for Californians. "With the governor's budget, as proposed, we will be digging deep into bone. The physics of the situation cannot be denied - as the core budget shrinks, so must the university."

How will students be impacted by the continual erosion of state support to the University of California campuses? In a statement, Yudof said he hopes to avoid raising tuition again, but can't make any promises at this point.

UC Budget Cut Consequences?

Yudof did share some cost-cutting ideas in a message that he posted last week on Facebook. These possibilities are contained in the UC Commission on the Future's final report:
  • Charging substantially higher tuition.
  • Limiting enrollment not just for freshmen, but also transfer and graduate students.
  • Dramatically downsizing faculty and staff.
  • Raising or eliminating the cap on out-of-state students, who pay significantly more tuition.
  • Shrinking financial aid.
The UC's are not the only state schools in California getting hit with drastic hair cuts. The 23 campuses in the California State University system face a potential $500 million cut and the community colleges could lose $400 million.

If you're a college student in a state school in California or soon to be one, prepare for a very bumpy ride.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog.
UC image by D.H. Parks. CC 2.0.