What's Wrong with the University of California?

If you have a child who is attending — or hopes to attend — a school in the University of California or California State University systems, these are scary times.

Tuition at the 23 Cal State schools is expected to jump by 30% for the fall semester. Tuition at the University of California campuses will increase more than 9%.

Students are paying more and receiving less as class sizes grow, course selection shrinks and large layoffs continue. And it’s becoming even harder to secure a spot in one of these schools because both systems have denied admission to thousands of applicants, who normally would have been accepted. The Cal State system has announced that it expects to reduce its enrollment by an additional 32,000.

Faced with a $813 million cut from the state, Mark G. Yudof, the president of the University of California system, says the damage will be devastating.

“There is no way that we are going to be able to look every student in the eye and say, ‘Tomorrow, the University of California will be just the way it was yesterday.’ ”

Here’s just a few examples of  the academic triage taking place in the UC system:

  • UCLA must reduce courses, majors and faculty positions by 10% to 20%.
  • At UC San Diego, freshmen and senior seminars have been canceled.
  • At UC Santa Cruz, general ed classes with less than 100 students enrolled have been eliminated.
  • At UC Irvine, class sizes will increase by 10% to 20%.
  • Systemwide, 724 staff members have been laid off and more are planned.

What can families do about this? Roughly 84% of high school students in California end up attending public colleges and universities in their own state. I think it’s time that families begin also looking at other options including private schools throughout the rest of the nation that offer solid financial aid/merit awards for promising students.

In the rest of the country, California kids are golden. They just don’t realize it.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch.com.

Read more:

The Shrinking Odds of Getting Into UC Berkeley

How I Graduated from Berkeley in Two Years

Six Questions to Ask a State University

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