State University System in Peril
Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 11:04
Now is when we should feel lucky to be attending a private university. Santa Clara will go largely unaffected by the proposed $750 million budget cut to the California State University system. Students at state schools and students trying to get into state schools are worried — and with good reason.
The CSU system has proposed, and most likely will be, freezing admissions in 15 out of 23 campuses for spring of 2013. This means that of the estimated 70,000 students who apply to the CSU system for the spring, a good portion of those students will be left out in the cold — or left to attend community college, a private college, a UC or go out of state.
To make matters worse, the CSU trustees recently approved 10 percent pay hikes for two campus presidents. In drastic times like these, those at the top are still shameless enough to request and receive money that could be spent on other, much needed, resources.
So what does this mean for those of us who aren’t college presidents expecting pay raises? Well, for community colleges and the eight state schools that are accepting incoming students, it means an increase in enrollment at their already overcrowded facilities. It means students who are trying to transfer into a CSU this spring will have to either stay at the college they are at or come up with enough money to pay out of state or private school tuition or the 30 grand price sticker on a UC. Or put their educational goals on hold for a while.
For how much value our western society places on hard work and education, we sure don’t seem to be encouraging that here in California. The state hasn’t increased aid given to the CSU system since 1996 even though there are now 90,000 more students enrolled at state schools than there were at the time.
Sure, it may only be one semester that they are closing down admittance, but if California voters don’t approve a tax initiative that will be on the ballot in November the admission freezes might continue. Things aren’t looking up for the state’s higher education system.
According to the executive Vice Chancellor Benjamin Quillian, some campuses are looking at eliminating athletics programs, limiting student loans and library acquisitions and deferring maintenance projects in order to quell the financial situation. They don’t want to raise tuition because they know how unpopular that would be among students. The way I see it though, if we want things to get better it will have to come out of our pockets at some point, whether that be through tax money or tuition.
This may not seem to have a very big affect on us here at Santa Clara, so we might not feel like we have to care very much. But as college students who have been given the opportunity to succeed via Santa Clara, we should care about our fellow college students at other universities.
And we should care if other people are being denied the opportunities that we were so privileged to receive. And we should care because this only makes education less accessible for a vast amount of California residents. I am afraid to imagine the massive amount of people working in fast food chains and dead end sales jobs 20 years from now because they were inadvertently denied a bachelors degree.
If for no other reason, we should care because some of us — myself included — have younger siblings who are working just as hard as we did with hopes of attending college in a couple of years. Don’t they deserve the same opportunities that were available to us? A state that does not invest in the education of its young people is not good for the future of our country, it is not good for our economy and it is not good for our morale.
We should all be concerned with the disarray of the public education system in our state; it affects all of us in one way or another.
Feliz Moreno is the editor of the Opinion section.