Crisis Time for California Universities

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If  your teenager is hoping to attend a state university in California, brace yourself.

The grim financial challenges consuming the University of California and the California State University systems, as well as the state’s huge community college system are of historic proportions.

Remember the student protests at UC Berkeley, UCLA and elsewhere last year? I think things could get much uglier in the next school year.

The UC and Cal State system may each have to absorb a $500 million budget cut and there is no federal stimulus money left, which has helped the state schools for the past couple of years.

Here is a snippet about the crisis from my other college blog over at CBS MoneyWatch:

Jerry Brown, in one of his first acts as governor in the cash-strapped state, has released proposed budget cutbacks that would slash $500 million from the 10 UC campuses. That would bring state support to the UC campuses back to the level it was in 1999 — and there were tens of thousands of fewer students then.

In a statement, Mark Yudof, the president of the UC system, said he hopes to avoid tuition increases, but it’s clear that something’s got to give.

On his Facebook page last week, Yudof shared potential cost-cutting actions that the UC Commision on the Future’s final report has suggested:

  • Charging substantially higher tuition.
  • Limiting enrollment for freshmen, as well as transfer and graduate students.
  • Dramatically downsizing faculty and staff.
  • Raising or eliminating the cap on out-of-state residents, who pay significantly more tuition.
  • Reducing financial aid.

Bottom Line:

The financial pressures on the state universities in California and elsewhere leads me to a recommendation that I’ve shared many times on my college blog:  throw a wide net when exploring your college options!!

It’s amazing how few students do this. I’ll write more on this phenomenon in my next college post.

Read more:

The States Where College Students Stay Close to Home

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller and a workbook, Shrinking the Cost of College: 152 Ways to Cut the Cost of a Bachelor’s Degree. Follow her on Twitter.

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