In the face of budget cuts, California universities suffer

Emma Nelson

Once a model of public higher education, the California State University system is suffering in the wake of massive budget cuts amounting to $1.6 billion in ten years, the New York Times reported.

The loss of funding has led to cuts in the number of classes offered — some schools no longer offer summer courses — as well as enrollment caps and tuition increases.

Lawrence Pitts, academic provost for the University of California, told the New York Times that the system is “certainly not providing the nature of education that we have in the past, in terms of breadth and depth, and that is something that has us terribly concerned.”

Governor Jerry Brown recently proposed a tax increase, to be voted on in November, that is meant to begin remedying the state's rising deficit. The increase is supported by the president of the University of California and the chancellor of California State University, as well as the chancellor of California community colleges. 

Community colleges have been hit particularly hard by the cuts, and stand to lose another $300 million if Brown's tax increase does not pass.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a member of the board of trustees for the University of California and California State systems, told the New York Times, “This is the code red we’re in. We’re not cutting into muscle or tissue, we’re cutting into artery.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, out-of-state colleges are taking advantage of the cuts in order to court California students, promising small class sizes, timely graduation and special scholarships. As a result, some schools have more than doubled enrollment by California students in recent years.

"The gold rush is on, and in this case the gold rush is for college-going students," Roger Thompson, vice provost of enrollment management for the University of Oregon, told the Los Angeles Times.