Sunday, April 21, 2013

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Californians pay for their state universities because there's this belief that there's a social good we all share by doing so.  If that's true, isn't this just wrong?
The University of California, Davis has admitted nearly 22,000 applicants for its freshman class this fall, but they include fewer California students than last year and more students from other states and countries.

UC Davis' admissions reflect the University of California's goal to substantially increase the number of out-of-state and international undergraduate students ever since lawmakers imposed state budget cuts during the recession.
Perhaps our UC's are just government-run businesses which, if profit is the motive, shouldn't be government-run anymore.

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

I think you are looking at this incorrectly. The amount of tuition for in-state students paid for by the state government to the UC system has been dropping for quite some time. The UCs can handle this in a few ways:

(1) Admit fewer students.
(2) Raise the tuition paid by the students
(3) Admit the same number of students at the old tuition, but don't offer enough classes for the kids to graduate on time.

We've seen all of these things in the past.

There is, however, a fourth thing that the schools can do: Admit more out-of-state students and charge them a *LOT* of money. UC Davis charges almost $37K in fees+tuition to out-of-state students. At worst, this is break-even for the school and doesn't really cost an in-state student a slot because there simply wasn't subsidy money available for an in-state student. At best, this might actually run a bit of a profit which can be used to subsidize in-state students.

It is quite possible that the out-of-state students are helping keep the in-state tuition lower than it would otherwise be!

The UC's are in a very bad place: As taxpayers, we don't want taxes going up to pay more for UC education, but we also want the UCs to keep taking the same number (or more!) of in-state students. And the students (and their parents) don't want fees+tuition to rise.

In short, much like the taxpayer desired federal spending does not match the taxpayer desired federal taxes, the folks in California want more UC education than they are willing to pay for.

-Mark Roulo

PS: In theory, one could cut spending by laying off administrators or paying professors less. I'd like to see some of this. But it doesn't fundamentally change the problem that what "we" want is more than we are willing to pay for.

Darren said...

I understand the economics of it, what I don't understand is Oregon charging California students more and California charging Oregon students more and...

It just seems silly. Why am I, a California resident, subsidizing the education of an Oregonian?

Anonymous said...

The University of Vermont has had entering freshmen classes with an absolute majority of out-state students (esp. NYC and Boston metros)for decades (AFAIR), and has had over 60% for years. I think the last few years were 67%. It's also been one of the most expensive state schools, for both in-state and out-state students, for decades. That said, it's in a very attractive area, with lots of neat stuff to do, and has very strong programs in many areas, so they've been able to keep prices high.

As an aside, I have always been offended by the fact that active-duty military personnel and their families must pay out-of-state tuition, unless they change official residence every time they move. Since many moving every two years, at least, that's not easy and risks major SNAFUs in paperwork. It's especially offensive in states that charge in-state tuition for illegal aliens and their families.

Anonymous said...


You aren't subsidizing the education of Oregon students. They pay full price. But this is the same full price that makes them a bit more attractive to the UCs than the in state students (keep in mind that the UCs don't get money per in state student like K-12 ... they get a block of money for however many California students they take ... but that block has been shrinking while the number of California students hasn't)

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

My taxes are subsidizing the entire UC system, in-state and out-of-state students alike.

Auntie Ann said...

Anon, your list is missing one:

(1) Admit fewer students.
(2) Raise the tuition paid by the students
(3) Admit the same number of students at the old tuition, but don't offer enough classes for the kids to graduate on time.
(4) CUT COSTS!! Especially by slashing the bloated administration which has built up layer by layer for decades.

Universities need to stop thinking that their purpose is the promotion of "social justice" and return to the idea that they are there to educate students in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

momof4 said...

I choose #4 first, followed by #3 and #1. From what I've read, the number of admins has probably tripled or quadrupled, since the 60s, with a disproportionate increase at the upper end of the pay scale; far too many deans and assistant/deputy chancellors. Remove all of the diversity apparatus and most of the academic support and counseling; under #1, only the stable, academically qualified will be on campus.

#1 should be handled by an absolute refusal to admit any student whose SAT/ACT score does not indicate college readiness; that data already exists (especially for ACT), no matter how well they carry a football. That automatically enables removal of all remedial classes. I would extend #1 to the return of freshman weeder courses (at my school,freshman lit/comp & real sciences), to eliminate those whose college aspirations don't include academics, only parties. In addition, laws need to be re-written/interpreted to allow colleges to screen for mental illness of the degree that possible injury to self or others exists. Choi-the VTech shooter-had a long history of severe mental illness and should never have been admitted. Ditto for a "student" at MIT (I think) who committed suicide on his first day on campus.

Yes, I know that I'm dreaming, but it's a pleasant dream and it would cut costs. I wouldn't mind the removal of all varsity athletics, either, helped by a denial of charitible donation IRS status to any donations to athletics (including under-table deals to move said money from the general fund to athletics).

Anonymous said...

Auntie Ann,

You missed my "PS" :-) I'd like to see this done, too, but the fundamental problem remains: The state students are being charged ~$13K for an education that costs more to provide and the state subsidy doesn't make up the difference. Slashing the administration will help (and should be done), but you then still need to do one (or more) of the first three.

The actual numbers illustrate this.

The UC system has about 180,000 undergraduates. At the *current* (historically high) 25% out-of-state admit rate, 45K of them are/will be from out of state, so 135K will be in-state [NOTE: The UC claimed goal seems to be 10% out of state, so the in-state cost to educate below will be higher than actual].

The California level subsidy for UC is about $2.5B. This works out to about $18.5K per in-state student [again, note, this is high because I'm assuming 25% out-of-state rather than 10%].

If we add this $18.5K to the $13K for tuition+fees, we get $31.5K in tuition+subsidy to educate an undergraduate student.

The out-of-state students are being charged $38K. It is pretty much math that the cost to educate an undergraduate has to be between $31.5K and $38K.

Beating on the administrative overhead will help, but we are going to try to find $1B+ in savings for things to work out correctly, then we probably need to fire between 500 and 1,000 administrators per UC campus. I know that they have added lots of gunk over the years, but do we really have 500 "provosts of diversity" or whatever per campus?

-Mark Roulo