Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"The constitutional amendment, if approved by voters, would give the Legislature power to adopt new laws that would set its oversight powers. For instance, lawmakers could give the Legislature the power to veto tuition increases and executive pay raises approved by the Board of Regents."

LA Times: Sen. Lara proposes giving lawmakers some control of UC system

“It behooves us, and ultimately the voters, to revisit the concentrated power and autonomy of the UC Board of Regents which appears to be out of touch with average working-class families,” Lara said in a statement. “At a time when access, affordability and diversity are in question, we should allow the public to have a direct say in how its public university system operates.”

The Legislature would have to muster a two-thirds vote to put the constitutional amendment before voters. The proposed amendment says, in part, “The University of California is hereby continued in existence in the state government, and is subject to legislative control as may be provided by statute.”

The ballot measure also says the Board of Regents would continue to govern the system, but “subjected only to that legislative control as may be necessary to ensure the security of its funds and compliance with the terms of the endowments of the university.”

The constitutional amendment also says UC shall focus its recruitment efforts on California residents.

“To ensure that the University of California is a University for California, I am introducing legislation to keep our state’s world-renowned institution of higher education accountable to California taxpayers,” Lara said.

UT San Diego Legislators ready to pay UC its ransom
After University of California regents voted to boost tuition by as much as 5 percent a year unless they receive more state funding, a few observers described the plan as political “blackmail.” Yet California’s legislative leaders this week expressed their willingness to pay the ransom.

They didn’t even ask for much in return for the extra cash — prompting a favorable response from the architect of the “pay up or else” strategy. University of California President Janet Napolitano called the Senate’s proposal “a promising first step.”

Specifically, Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled SB 15, which would provide $150 million to University of California and California State University in the first year of the plan.

It’s questionable whether this plan will fix that capacity problem. By keeping prices low and offering additional student aid, the Senate proposal could provide even more demand for classes in an already overloaded system. The plan repeals the planned 11-percent cut to Cal Grants and funds 7,500 new grants for older, “nontraditional” students.

The measure would divert funds from the Middle Class Scholarship program (thus imposing higher costs on students who don’t qualify for low-income grants) and would hike tuition by 17 percent for out-of-state students. The bill’s backers say these students would not be harmed because of
SJ Mercury News UC Fee Hike Pushes Legislative Action for Cash Infusion
But for a university system used to a great deal of autonomy, this is not money without strings. State lawmakers have specified where much of it would flow -- and not to UC's pension fund, a major source of its financial strain.

And Atkins this week proposed public hearings to scrutinize UC's budget, line by line, to make sure the university's spending matches its public mission.

When UC says it needs money so badly that it must raise student tuition, Atkins said, the state has to ask, "Have you really prioritized (the budget) in the way we think it should be prioritized?"

Does tuition have to go up? - who is spurring needed debate?

The University of California’s finances and management are about to get the intense dissection they’ve long deserved, prompted by a power play by UC President Janet Napolitano.

Since state revenue sharply dropped a half-dozen years ago, we’ve seen near-annual fights over whether UC should hike tuition. But when Jerry Brown returned as governor in 2011, he brought a new perspective, asking pointed questions about whether UC had truly tried to reduce nonessential spending.

Enter Napolitano. The former Arizona governor and homeland security czar took over as UC president in September 2013. In recent months, she’s made it plain she will be far less deferential than her predecessors. Napolitano persuaded UC regents to tentatively commit to five years of 5 percent annual tuition increases that would cumulatively total 28 percent. Presently, UC students pay about $12,000 a year, not including room, board, instructional materials and other mandatory costs.

But Napolitano made two rookie mistakes. She refused to comply with a 2013 state law that requires UC to offer far more detailed explanations of how it uses its various sources of funding — giving credence to Brown’s doubt about whether the UC system had even tried to find efficiencies. And the UC president appeared to belittle the idea that higher student fees would be onerous for middle-class families, noting that tuition was free for students whose families made less than $80,000.

Pension U - The Real Reason Behind a proposed tuition hike at the University of California

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