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Higher Learning

November 20, 2009

The cost of an education at University of California schools is about to get higher; that is, 32% higher. On Friday, the regents of the UC system voted to increase tuition, resulting in student protests across the UC campuses. Students are arguing that “the increase will hurt working and middle-class students who benefit from state-funded education.” Meanwhile, school officials are saying that the tuition increase is necessary in order “to prevent deeper cuts than those already made because of California’s persistent financial crisis.”

Bob Samuels, president of the UC American Federation of Teachers, disagrees with UC President Mark Yudof. In an interview with Democracy Now, Mr. Samuels explains the reasons for the tuition increases,

Well, you know, the university says that it’s poor, that it can’t spend money from its other areas on students, on instructions, and so it has to basically—what it’s doing now is laying off hundreds of faculty members, especially the non-tenured lecturers, and it’s increasing class size.

And money is being funneled into the compensation of the star faculty and the star administrators, because in the UC system there’s over 3,000 people who make over $200,000. And many of them make $400,000, $500,000. A lot of them are mostly administrators and staff, and so the university has—basically has fewer and fewer faculty, more and more students and more and more administrators.

And so, what’s going to happen is it takes students longer to graduate. They can’t get the classes they need. And I teach required writing classes at UCLA, and they just laid off our entire department. And we have required classes, so we don’t know what they’re going to do. And the dean of our division told us the university simply does not have money for undergraduate education.

Do you hear that President Yudof? Stop hiring so many administrators and stop laying off your faculty; all that bureaucracy increases transaction costs, which is very inefficient. Your students are paying a lot of money to receive an education. They would appreciate not being enrolled in overcrowded classrooms and being able to graduate within four years so that they don’t have to pay even more money for you to hire additional administrators!

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