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Free UC Tuition for Californians?

Columnist for the LA Times says bring back free UC education for Californians. Is he dreaming?

LA Times Michael Hiltzik cites such UC graduates as Earl Warren, who was the son a working-class railroad worker, and went on to spend “nearly 16 years as chief justice of the United States.” He led the Supreme Court in such landmark cases as “Brown vs. Board of Education.”

And there’s Maxine Hong Kingston whose Chinese immigrant parents couldn’t afford a private university. In 1958 she got a scholarship to cover the $75.00 a semester cost of UC Berkeley at that time.

And Hiltzik says the number of Californian writers, scientists, musicians, and politicians “who rose from modest circumstances” to go on to alter the world is too long to list.

But if many of these folks “graduated from high school today,” Hiltzik asks, “would they have any chance of getting a UC education?”

Hiltzik says the idea of “free tuition for state residents” was essential to the University of California from its origins in the 1860s. He says the notion was “reaffirmed in the 1960 master plan for public higher education, which acknowledged the university's role as a driver of economic growth.”

If you’re interested in how this debate is “playing out in national politics,” go see Congressman George Miller speak at UC Berkeley Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Eshleman Hall (seventh floor).

Miller says that, increasingly, families have to take on more debt in order to get an education, the Daily Cal reports.

Miller claims this is limiting “the accessibility of higher education for many students,” according to the Daily Cal.

So, can California afford to get rid of in-state tuition? Can it afford not to? Is there a happy medium?

JohnG April 11, 2012 at 08:01 PM
In much of western Europe and Australia, tuition is free but politically and culturally, that'll never happen here. However, this reminds me of a plan students submitted a while ago that seems fair -- free tuition and after they graduate, students give a percentage of their income to UC for 20 years. http://www.dailycal.org/2012/02/06/uc-officials-to-meet-with-president-of-student-group-proposing-alternate-tuition-model/
Milan Moravec April 12, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Cal Birgeneau & Breslauer deny instate applicants for the admission of affluents out of state and foreign tuition students. How's 'dem apples University of California Berkeley Alumni, donors and supporters
Milan Moravec May 01, 2012 at 04:05 AM
University of California Berkeley (UCB) Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau is outspoken on why elite public universities should charge more. With Birgeneau’s leadership UCB is more expensive (on an all-in-cost) than private Harvard and Yale. Cal. is the most expensive public higher education in our country. World ranking of prestigious universities has Harvard #1, Cal # 5. Birgeneau would like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar asked for. The Chancellor’s ‘charge more’ instate tuition skyrocketed fees by an average 14% per year from 2006 to 2011-12 academic year. If Birgeneau had allowed fees to rise at the same rate of inflation over the past 10 years they would still be in reach of most middle income students with the help of affordable student loans. Increasing Cal’s funding is not the solution.

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