Saturday, July 11, 2009

Budget Analysis: A Headnote

To one of my friends who thought some of the discussion was too technical:

there's a bit of geek material on the blog, but if faculty, staff, and students are going to push the university onto a better path we need to understand it. I try to make it as accessible as possible, and am willing to work on it until the material makes sense to absolutely everyone. People are more than welcome to send specific questions to me about any of this stuff.

For example, this entry shows why the Regents' and UCOP's failure to protect public funding for UC and CSU requires far larger tuition hikes than they currently admit, or major degradations of operations, or both. I have long opposed fee hikes, but the main point here is not to be lulled by claims that research funding or philanthropy or other private partnerships could ever save us from them.

The entry you were referring to explains why the plan Yudof is bringing to the Regents - to cut state-paid employees but not 100% soft-money employees - isn't fair.

It also addresses another issue: the state gave UC about $10,000 per student in 2008-09, and students brought about $8000 in fees. The public might want to know why we can't educate someone on $18,000 a year (or 3x what public universities get in Germany with its successful high-tech economy). The answer: that money is used for all sorts of things besides instruction and related expenses, including (the topic of the entry) subsidizing federal and corporate research.

If more of us understand the money, it will be much harder for them to play games with it. And the games they've been playing are at the root of the mess we're in.

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