Tuesday, January 11, 2011

UC Students Respond to Gov. Brown's Proposed Cuts to Higher Education

UC Students Respond to Gov. Brown's Proposed Cuts to Higher Education

For Immediate Release:
January 10th, 2011
Claudia Magaña, UCSA President, 3rd year student at UC Santa Cruz, (626) 392-5919
Christine Byon, UCSA Organizing and Communications Director, (510) 834-8272

Oakland, CA - Claudia Magaña, President of the University of California Student Association and third-year student at UC Santa Cruz, released the following statement this afternoon in response to Governor Brown’s plan to make drastic cuts to higher education funding and potential mid-year fee increases.

“The University of California Student Association (UCSA) opposes Governor Brown’s proposed higher education budget for the 2011-2012 year. If adopted in its current form, this budget would serve another devastating blow to quality, affordability and access in the University of California system. The Governor’s proposed budget includes a $500 million cut to the UC system, which would wipe out 1/6th of the state’s total support for UC. As a result, this will be the first time in history where the overall contribution from student fees is higher than the state’s contribution, further privatizing public higher education and destroying the vision of an affordable education in the California Master Plan. We are disappointed that the Governor did not consider alternative revenue sources to protect higher education funding and other critical services. Polls have  repeatedly shown that Californians do not want to see any more cuts to higher education and are willing to help contribute more to ensure no further fee increases.

"UCSA strongly opposes the consideration of any mid-year student fee increases. Although the legislature increased UC funding by $370 million last year, the Regents still hit students with an 8% fee increase in November, on top of the 32% fee increase last year. With high levels of students’ contribution and previous state funding at the Regents’ disposal, we do not believe further fee increases are justified. With student fees tripling over the past decade, students have been hit on both ends – paying much more while still experiencing cuts to classes, services and full majors. It is difficult to see why students should be forced to pay more for declining quality and access.

"Students’ futures cannot afford to be tossed around in a game of political football between the Regents and the state. In the end, students will suffer the most from these decisions, already paying over $11,000 for tuition, drowning in debt, or even having to pull out of the UC altogether. Fee increases must be recognized for what they are: Taxes on students and their families.

"We appreciate that the Governor has committed to work with stakeholders, including representatives of students and employees, to ensure that any reductions in UC funding have a minimal impact on fees and enrollment. Students will expect the Governor to keep his word by bringing students to the forefront of any budget decisions affecting UC.

"As UC students, we believe strongly in the vision of a UC system that is high quality, affordable and accessible. We are deeply concerned that such devastating cuts and spiraling fee increases are fundamentally jeopardizing these principles. ”

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