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Budget Woes and Blows to the University of California System

The University of California system is taking a beating due to the sagging economy and the state’s budgetary woes (the state really needs a new constitution or a major overhaul of the map of its legislative districts–which is a textbook case of the evils of gerrymandering).

Most commentaries have focused on the access to the University of California, including the budgetary implications on on financial aid and tuition increases.

But what parents and students need to keep in mind is that access is not the only issue here: as budgets shrink, educational quality will start to shrivel up, too. While you may still have access to UCLA or UC Irvine, the quality of the education offered there will decline unless the healthy budgets return.

An article in today’s Inside Higher Ed leads with the fact that the UC schools are having a hard time recruiting top quality faculty, because they can no longer compete by offering competitive salaries. They are losing bidding wars with private colleges around the country–whose budgets are not dependent on taxpayer dollars and whose endowments may allow them to attract top-flight faculty.

Many other public universities are feeling the same pinch:  as budgets are trimmed, so are student services.  Class sizes will increase.  Depth and breadth of course offerings will diminish.

So today’s consumers of higher education services need to think carefully about the relationship between cost and quality.

If your family needs help finding the right balance between cost and quality, don’t hesitate to give me a shout.  Remember, the first conversation is free!

Mark Montgomery
Educational Consultant

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