14 September 2011

UC Disorientation Guide

Reclaim UC  carries a "disorientation Guide" for students entering UC this fall:

As you go from class to overcrowded class this fall, you’ll want to forget that tuition last year was around $1,800 less than you’re paying now. Continuing a 30-year trend, the UC Board of Regents gathered in cigar and gin-soaked boardrooms over the summer to raise our tuition by 17.6% and lay down plans for further increases in January, or maybe just raise tuition 81% over the next 4 years.


The UC Office of the President (UCOP) never tires of reminding us that tuition increases are the recession’s fault or scolding us that Californians are just unwilling to spend on education in hard times; this is a strange excuse though, since state funding has been decreasing while tuition has been skyrocketing since the early 1990s. [...] As it happens, in 9 of the past 10 years tuition was raised – well before the 2008 recession began; UCOP’s insistence on the necessity of this recent series of tuition increases has so many logical fallacies that if it were an assignment, it’d get an F (assuming, of course, that the overburdened TA grading it even had time to pay attention to it). Tuition hikes and budget cuts – at all levels of California higher education – are part of the decades-long process whereby the richest assholes in California (and the greater US) intend to make private what few institutions remain in public hands.

Even if you slept through math in high school, UC tuition increases aren’t difficult to calculate – just add a few zeros every few decades: since 1975 tuition has gone up 1,923% or, if you’d prefer to adjust for inflation, 392% (from $700 to over $12,000 per year)! Minimum wage in California, by contrast, when adjusted for inflation, has stayed roughly the same for the last 40 years, while the median family income has continued to fall since 1973. Most people in California make less money today, yet pay much more for education: for families struggling to pay rent, mortgages, car payments, etc., education becomes a luxury good. To make matters worse, financial aid packages meant to help low to middle income students attend the UC, heavily depend on students working part-time in an economy with a staggeringly high unemployment rate and very low entry- level wages; furthermore, it relies on students taking out thousands in loans that, most economic experts agree, will lock us into debt for the rest of our lives. Indeed, many economists believe that student loans will be the next credit bubble to burst, perhaps wreaking more destruction than the recession of 2008. Because there aren’t enough jobs for everyone who graduates, student loan default rates are nearing 10% – but, unlike other loans there’s no way out for student borrowers. Sallie Mae and Bank of America can take your paychecks and your children’s paychecks until they get back all their Benjamins, and then some.
Read the rest of it, here.

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