President Obama’s message to colleges is simple: perpetual tuition hikes are no longer an option. Last week, he promised to reward colleges if they hold the line on tuition increases. On the other hand, he told college administrators that if they don’t stop tuition from going up, then the funding they get from taxpayers each year will go down. We discuss the president’s proposal.

Obama’s Tuition Plan 31 January,2012forum

Mark Yudof, president of the University of California
Debbie Cochrane, program director at The Institute for College Access & Success
Christopher Prado, student body president at CSU East Bay
Martha Kanter, under secretary of education in the U.S. Department of Education
Kristen Soares, president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU)

  • Qu’ils mangent de la brioche

    It is in the interest
    of the elites to bring the 99% to its knees with unpayable debts, and perpetual tuition hikes are a chief mechanism to achieve that.
    It has always,
    going back centuries if not millenia, been the policy of the rich to
    defeat the masses with debt, which is cheaper than defeating them by other means, but also tricks borrowers into thinking they are immoral for not paying.
    But all the while the prices the 1% are charging are exorbitant and unjustifiable, or inflated by economic bubbles as with housing, and the chief manipulators of those prices — the hatchet men — are awarded generously for their services, as with Mark Yudof’s $787k salary.

    History has shown that forgiving debts brings prosperity, which is why in ancient times monarchies did so periodically, a practice which occurred as part of Jubilee. But in the USA, obsessively-controlling rich people insist on the idea that prices and price hikes are reasonable because they think they have achieved plausible deniability for price-gouging the 99%. They are wrong. Their scam is completely transparent.
    America’s elites are like certain former French monarchs, feasting on brioches in a palace while refusing the peasants even flour for bread, and sending out cops to put down protests.

  • Guest

    Universities are fighting hard to stay at the top of the ranking scale.  That means bringing in new faculty focused on newer research topics and getting as much research grant as possible.  However, these new faculty members try to get tenured by publishing as many papers as possible during the first six years and are not interested in teaching.  Meanwhile many of the older tenured professors are not interested in teaching, probably because they are distinguished in some way.  Undergraduate students are often forced to pay for this seemingly wasteful overstaffing.

  • Bob Fry

    Whatever the president’s proposal is, it won’t get enacted and it won’t solve the real problem: a teaching system that is very labor-intensive, thousands of years old, and based on the ancient fact that one-to-many lecturing was the cheapest way of copying information…not the best way.

    Now with the Internet and software it’s time to figure out new ways for people to learn. The UC and other elite universities should be leading the way, but in fact are moving as slowly as they can. Their best effort is to video the traditional lecture and offer it online, without credit. Big deal, the community colleges do that and offer credit! 

  • Guest

    As taxpayers and states withdraw support from public institutions, colleges have no choice but to raise tuition. The Federal government wants to punish them for that? Makes no sense.

    • PrintDeutschmarks

      It’s artificial selection. Let the universities run by greed-heads be selected to die off.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Where is student loan reform? I have loans consolidated through Sallie Mae at a fixed 8%. Why can I not re-finance those loans at lower rates as homeowners can their mortgages? Doesn’t that just make sense, especially given how a more educated adult helps the US compete globally as our President urges? How is someone buying real estate for themselves a greater good to society?

    Why can the Donald Trumps of the world discharge their debts in bankruptcy while student borrowers are excepted, due to lobbying from the banks? Give student borrowers the same rules others enjoy and money would flow into the economy helping it recover. Indebting student borrowers for the bulk of their earning years means suffocation. 

    • Pamzella

      I am with you!  People are surprised to hear those of us who graduated already or who go back to school for a teaching credential, etc. are not included in any interest rate reductions.  Mortgages- heck, luxury car loans- have lower interest rates than our student loans, and the gov’t takeover took away our ability to consolidate, too.

    • Guest

      Absolutely agree. Student loans are stuck at fixed rates twice what mortgage rates are right now. Not only that, but they aren’t dischargeable even in bankruptcy, while homeowners can walk away from a first mortgage with few consequences. I’m sure banks would argue that homeowners at least have collateral to seize when they don’t repay. But if student loans aren’t dischargeable, what difference does it make?

      Furthermore, when mortgage and credit card interest rates were higher a decade ago, students were able to refi into student loan rates around 3 percent. With money even cheaper now, why can’t students get better rates?

  • UCDavis

    This conversation happens within context of students being pepper-sprayed and gouged with night sticks for protesting increased tuition at UC. I wonder if Yudof thinks sending in cops to attack those students was an appropriate response, and whether the perpetrators — both cops and executives — should be held responsible for their violent actions. Alas it appears he has escaped the issue today.

  • kenoli

    Is anything being done to address the level of commitment of the people of California to educating our children.  When I went to UC Berkeley, the university was committed to no tuition, while I think there was a $150 admin fee of some sort, and there were scholarships, not loans for those who needed it for housing, books and other costs.  There were also loans that were available, but these were forgivable after graduation for those who could not afford to pay them off.  Today students graduate from college with the largest debt they will probably ever have in life and these debts are protected from bankruptcy or other action to dismiss them.

    This seems reflective of a social value that says education is not important, that it is a privilege that must be paid for by our youth.  At the same time, education requirements by employers and others are going up.

    It seems to me that dealing with this by talking about this proposal or that is missing the point of looking at our core values regarding education.  What is being done to address this?  How do we feel as a society about education?  Who is influencing education policy?

    We don’t force drivers to take out personal mortgages to pay for earthquake retrofits to the Bay Bridge and we don’t make sports lovers to take out personal loans to pay for a new stadium.

    Yet our relation to education dumps the cost on students in exactly this way.

    –Kenoli Oleari

  • Meatball

    Data speaks more than
    narrative. Perhaps someone can point us to a website that shows: 1) a
    chart of tuition prices going back to day one for UC (or any college/university); 2) an overlay of
    grad/undergrad student enrollment; 3) an overlay of federal and state
    funding amounts to UC for the same period. 4) student graduation rates by program for the same period. 5) student debt for the same period.Yes, this asks for a lot. However, this data is available somewhere. If it takes a law to make it available; then let’s see it. With the sourced data in front of us we have something to talk about. Otherwise it’s he said/she said. (IMHO)

  • JR

    It’s great to talk about making colleges affordable, but are the colleges also considering hiring more faculty and offering more classes?  My daughter has had to leave SFSU because it is practically impossible to get a full-time load of classes that will move her toward graduation.  She is not the only one, and there have been stories on the news and in the SF Chronicle about other students in similar situations.  
    In the “old days”  50 students on a waiting list would lead to another section of that class being opened up.  That doesn’t happen now, all those students are just out of luck. Students are leaving state universities to attend private colleges so they can get their degree, but then they will be graduating with massive amounts of debt.Colleges are raising their admission percentages of out-of-state and international students so they can get more money to operate.It is a sad situation.

  • MsP

    Why do students expect college to be free? Free things are not valued so students and their families should have to pay and work hard for the privilege of higher ed. H

    • Guest

      Past generations of Californians were able to attend their public universities virtually for free, so I think today’s students are wondering why their parents and grandparents no longer want to fund higher education for them.

    • Bob Fry

      Maybe because the bankers got a nearly trillion-dollar bailout for free?

  • Pamzella

    Just a few thoughts:  Mark Yudof, taking out student loans is not the same thing as “not paying” tuition.  If the state reduces funding for every extra federal dollar, students still get punished, it just gets more confusing.  The formula for financial aid is federal, remember, and the FAFSA does not distinguish between high COL areas like the Bay Area and say, Wyoming, which is why there’s a broad range of students struggling for financial aid in this area.  School rankings are affected by tuition, which along with raising money for financial aid, are providing a disincentive- or at least a conflict- for colleges considering the high cost of tuition.  I applied to UC, daughter of a single mom who was a teacher, and was told I did not qualify for financial aid, but my mom could take out a third mortgage on her house, and then maybe somewhere down the line my brother would qualify because they only required a third mortgage, not a fourth.  Thank god for Mills College, where I got a great education and walked out with debt I *could* afford to pay off in 10 years as a liberal arts major.

  • Richard Seyman

    It has never been true that UC had no choice but to raise tuition to make up for reduction in state funding.  It could have chosen not to raise faculty salaries and start losing some faculty.  This would have been a real challenge to state lawmakers and to voting tax payers.  The University continues to take the easiest political way out.  It is scared out of its wits about taking a political stand for raising tax in the face of right wing defunding of every aspect of public endeavors.  This cowardice is the root cause of the current financial oppression being experienced by middle class families trying to obtain higher education for their children.

  • Nick

    I’m so tired of the rhetoric that claims “college should prepare you for life.” It’s hysterical at best. Life prepares you for life. High school and primary education prepare you for critical thinking. If hundreds of thousands of my peers are going to college to learn to think, it’s no wonder there’s 60% underemployment among recent grads.

    We should discourage kids from going into programs when they’re almost guaranteed to not get a job in the field, and encourage them to go into professional training or science or engineering.

    People should be going to college to get a job, not to learn how to think.

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