The changes to higher education and its price in California are partially in response to the recent state funding cuts. Students (and their families) are being asked to shoulder more of the costs of their education–in the form of increased tuition and fees, parking costs, per campus student activity fees etc. At the same time, decreased numbers of classes, support services cuts (e.g. libraries with reduced hours), lower admissions (e.g. 300,000 community college students are estimated to be turned away statewide for 2012-13)
How the state, individual campuses and whole college systems–like the University of California–are responding will determine how students will be affected in their pocketbooks, in the classroom and in admissions. Already, the CSU system is selectively accepting transfer applications for Spring 2013, with the majority of campuses closed for transfer admissions. The UC has tied any current school year tuition increases to the passing of the tax initiative, Proposition 30–which if not passed, UC students (and their families) can expect a 20% increase or $2400 mid-year. Community colleges, like the City College of San Francisco, are facing possible bankruptcy, which would send its 90,000 students seeking classes elsewhere in the Bay Area. Cal Grants were reduced for private university students in June–after enrollment for Fall 2012 decisions were made–requiring students to either take on additional loans or pay more out-of-pocket before the new school year started.
Class of 2013 Seniors and their families, who’re choosing colleges for application this Fall, would be smart to consider on-going California budget challenges and ask more questions to forecast continued tuition increases and other reductions in classes and services. Out-of-state public universities or private colleges may no longer be out-priced in comparison with CA’s public universities, but families must do their homework.
There are no simple or quick answers. However, as Art remarked the other day, “People do research and comparison shop to buy a new car or home. Why don’t they do the same for college?”