Thursday, March 31, 2011

California's Budget Cuts Aren't Pretty

We need more cutting done, but we need to cut in better areas than what's being chosen currently. This isn't welcome in any circle:

Many high school seniors are still waiting to find out if they have been accepted into their favorite college campuses thanks to severe budget cuts that have forced public universities to increase the size of their waitlists.

Even top students with excellent grades and a strong extracurricular record are finding themselves shut out when trying to apply to University of California campuses.

This is the worst part, at least to me:

With more cuts expected this coming fiscal year, public universities are limiting enrollment and accepting more out of state and international students to help increase their budgets.

I pay taxes that support our state universities on the assumption that those universities improve California and Californians. If the reply to that is, "we need to run these schools more like a business and maximize income in order to maximize programs offered," I can agree with that--if I don't have to support that "business" with my tax dollars.


Anonymous said...

We won't do it, but one way to help the university financing problem would be to cut back on the number of students admitted to the Cal State system.

According to wikipedia:

five of the Cal State campuses have incoming freshmen classes with an *AVERAGE* SAT score of 900 or less out of 1600. This is using the recentered SAT, so prior to 1994, these would be closer to 850.

The five campuses are: Bakersfield, Dominguez Hills, East Bay (formerly Hayward), Los Angeles, and San Bernadino.

Given the size of the student populations, we can probably assume that the average is pretty close to the median. So roughly ½ of the students at these schools scored less than 900 on the SAT.

In general, these students do not belong at a four year college. There are exceptions, of course, but on balance these kids just aren't good enough students to work their way through a "real" four year degree. As an example, CS Bakersfield claims a 6-year graduation rate of 45%. Some of the remaining 55% transferred and will graduate elsewhere, but I'd suggest that probably a good 50% won't wind up with a degree. This would roughly match the US rate as a whole: ~60% of high school graduates go off to college and about 30% wind up with a four year degree.

My suggestion is that California stop subsidizing the education of these students. It is a bad investment for the state. If we *ARE* going to subsidize higher education, how about spending the money in places where we expect a return, and cutting back in areas where we expect that the money isn't expected to provide much of a return?

We might, as an example, make a rule that you need at least a 900 (or 950) out of 1600 SAT score to get into a Cal State, and a 1050 (or 1100?) out of 1600 to get in to a UC. Shrink back campuses and departments as needed. This would help keep the tuition at more reasonable rates for those kids who are qualified to go.

Won't happen, of course ...

Ellen K said...

Isn't it time for state universities to stop pretending to be Oxford and start getting on with the important job of educating the students of the state? And that applies to Texas, Oklahoma, New York and California. I am tired of out of state students getting a subsidized education because they pay more initially. I am sick of foreign nationals getting scholarships over our own kids. Charity begins at home.