What’s The Value of a University of California Education?

Roughly 30 percent of every dollar we take in from tuition we reinvest back in financial aid. So the nominal tuition is $12,000 but the real tuition is probably about $8500. It’s like the sticker price on an automobile: 62 percent of our students don’t pay the sticker price, [which is] income adjusted. But it’s still a problem, and particularly for the middle class because the higher your income, the less eligible you are for financial aid.

–Mark Yudof, Outgoing University of California (UC) President

UC_SealSince the University of California (UC) is only putting 70 cents of every tuition dollar into educating students, meaning 38% of the UC student population is subsidizing the remaining 62%, then how does a UC student define the value of her/his education?  Middle class families, as Mr. Yudof points out, may increasingly make “too much” (see note below) to qualify for need based financial aid, yet their income may “not be enough” (according to the family’s measurements) to pay the full tuition and other costs (i.e. housing, book, supplies) of a UC education.  And, given the current Proposition 30 stay on tuition hikes may not last, plus as we posted last June, the UC system will be facing a $10 Billion unfunded pension obligation in the coming years, both may add pressure to increase tuition again, which can further convolute the value of a UC education.  Regardless of the systemic issues affecting the UC system, potential UC applicants and their families would benefit from defining their value of a college degree.  Then, determine if the UC system or individual UC campuses align with their values.  Once the match is made, families can be most confident about investing their hard-earned capital in a UC experience.

Note: The UC Blue & Gold Opportunity Plan allows middle class families earning less than $80,000 and qualifies for financial aid to have all tuition and campus fees paid by the UC.

Quote Source: New American Media, May 12, 2013

Photo Source: