Friday, May 15, 2015

Dividing UC? Is it turning out "tactically naive" -- babybellish?

Remaking The University has analysis on The May Budget Revision: UC Budget Goes From Bad To Worse

There are various ways to describe the problem: it is a $1.5 billion structural deficit (2011 values) or it is the $1 billion in cuts since 2008 that CFO Brostrom uses in public statements. A third way is even more ominous: the last Independent Audit Report of UC's finances had UC losing $5.7 billion on operations in FY2013 and $4.5 billion in FY2014 (page 10). These losses were partially offset by non operating gains (investment returns is the largest piece). Even so, the shortfall was $1.0 billion in 2014.

The Governor has again offered UC the same state increase and no more. He has added a compact-like agreement to do this for four years in a row. At the appearance of a new headwind he can abandon this commitment as Gov. Schwarzenegger abandoned his, but more to the point is that this is a minimal increase that would likely have emerged from the normal budgeting process. UC has agreed to freeze tuition for another 2 years, so that increment is lost. In 2017-18, UC can request a tuition increase, but one to be tied to an inflation rate that is likely to remain well under the 5 percent UC proposed.

In other words, UCOP has agreed to several more years of austerity and shortfalls. This will keep the deficit in place and, as far as I can tell, sustain annual operating losses.

Students will be happy they will not be paying more. They will not be happy that they will still be getting less.

So what is the real purpose here? Perhaps the purpose is to convert UC's pension into a 403(b) over time, and that UCOP wants this as well. I don't know this, but I can't explain why UCOP would take this deal when the pension is actually on the mend.

I can see why the state would do it. It gets a chunk of UC operating expenses off its budget. State politicians can also divide up the UC employee body.

One good feature of UC having lost two of its national laboratories to a private limited-liability corporation during the Bush years was that the federal government reimburses UC for pension costs at Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories. It may be time for a similar spin-off of the medical centers.

The UC Regents: have just Revised Their Agenda for next week's UC Regents meeting-- note their agenda sets aside time for meeting on Friday if needed, is that 'for show' or will they likely use it?

SF Gate: UC President, Governor Agree To Freeze Tuition For 2 Years

Napolitano is expected to ask the regents next week to authorize her to raise the supplemental fee paid by out-of-state students by up to 8 percent.

Easing 3-year graduations
Under the deal, UC would make it easier for students to graduate in three years by expanding the number of entry-level classes given online, adding academic advisers, and combing through all the requirements for each major to see what can be eliminated.
“We’d still maintain quality, and it doesn’t mean everyone would graduate in three years,” Klein said. “But UCLA has already been reviewing course requirements and asking, ‘Do we need all of them?’”

NYT, this headline: In California Budget Plan, Brown Wins Deal on Tuition Freeze for In-State Students
The deal caps tuition for California residents over the next two years, while out-of-state tuition could increase by as much as 8 percent in each of the next two years and 5 percent in the third year.


San Jose Mercury News includes this important note:
Funds for Cal Grants and middle-class scholarships would decrease.

see: UCSA Responds to Governor Brown's May Revision State Budget includes:
“Today’s announcement contains promising news for California UC undergraduates,” said UCSA President Jefferson Kuoch-Seng. “However, students will continue our direct advocacy in Sacramento and build broad support across California within and beyond our campuses. We expect that tuition will continue to be volatile with varying policies for different students, and future increases tied to inflation when this freeze expires. We call on the University to commit to inclusion of students in the consultative process as outlined in AB 970. We also ask that the Legislature look for a predictable, long-term funding solution for higher education that will directly benefit all UC students.”

UCLA Faculty Blog: More Thoughts On The Pension Deal: Looks Like We Are Paying A Price For A Non-Academic UC Prez --and other new posts there with more analysis

Reclaim UC with: Ambiguous News from Sacramento:

But to return to the out-of-state tuition hike: the state's effort to divide the student body (in terms of their immediate political interests) between those from California and those from other states or from abroad seems to be working. While the out-of-state tuition hike is not nearly as high as what was being discussed last December (an up to 8% annual increase rather than 17%), the multi-thousand dollar hike is not insignificant in terms of out-of-state students' debt levels, nor is it politically insignificant. Those who rule the state seem to be on the verge of breaking what had been an established across the board tuition freeze: they are thus rolling back some of the student movement gains of 2012. ...


Not only does the out-of-state hike extract more money from certain students and thus divide the immediate interests of the student body, it also exacerbates inequalities between UC campuses, with those (like UCB and UCLA) with relatively whiter and wealthier student bodies receiving a disproportionate funding increase, while those (like UCR, UCM, and UCSC) with higher percentages of working class / students of color receiving relatively little increase following the hike, since they have significantly lower rates of out-of-state students.

also see: the accompanying info-graphs, charts here

Venture County Star: Brown Proposes $5.5 Billion Boost To Schools, But Battle Looms Over Human Services Funding

Providing a $38 million increase to California State University, bringing the total increase in state support to CSU next year to $158 million. The proposal breaks with past practice of treating UC and CSU equally, because UC would receive $96 million in new money to address its pension liabilities.

Has the Committee of Two divided up UC? Was their exercise a 'sorting' that sets student tiers against each other; and results in employee tiered experiences that will increase stratification and retention issues ,turnover, more expensive poaching games; does it deepen the divide b/ween UC medical against UC campuses; and also sets UC apart from other higher ed segments (CSU) by taking more (one time pension) funding; and highlight again UC as apart from other Californians -by taking funds that could go to human services funding?

Of course, remember this from SF Chronicle when Newsom warned it was "tactically naive" for UC to embark on the approach...

More specifically at SF Chronicle: Brown “has every point of leverage. To do this in such an overt way was, I thought, disrespectful to the governor. But also tactically naive.”

-Seems things need to play out a bit more to see.

Remember the Gov. at a recent UC Regents meeting- with regard to Prop 98 $$$$$ -how UC could have been in on that funding, a piece of it-- 'but UC wanted to be treated differently and so UC is treated differently'

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