University of California President Janet Napolitano announced on March 3 that she will cap the number of out-of-state undergraduate enrollments at specific UC campuses unless the state government provides the UC system an additional $218 million in funding.
This would include capping UC Berkeley and UCLA at their current nonresident enrollment levels of 23 and 20 percent, respectively, while limiting UCSD to a level of 20 percent. The remaining campuses, which have an average out-of-state enrollment level of 6 percent, would not be subject to the enrollment caps.
Media Specialist at the UC Office of the President Shelly Meron informed the UCSD Guardian that the University of California system hopes to increase the enrollment of native Californian residents by 1 percent — approximately 1,000 students — each of the next five years. To do this, however, she said that the UC system needs a guarantee of additional funding, which the governor and legislature are still negotiating.
“We are taking this action regrettably at a time of record-high numbers of applications and when our state needs a highly skilled workforce more than ever,” Meron said. “The [UC system] has a significant funding gap, and, without enrolling nonresident students, this gap would widen, diminishing the educational experience of California students and possibly forcing us to admit even fewer Californians.”
State Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins said she disapproves of Napolitano’s ultimatum in a March 3 press release.
“I am frustrated over [the University of California’s] latest attempt to use students as bargaining chips by agreeing to admit 2,000 new out-of-state students but threatening to limit the enrollment of new California students,” Atkins said. “[The University of California’s] job is to educate California students, not waitlist them.”
Atkins also expressed doubt that the UC system’s objectives align with students’ interests but indicated that the Assembly’s does.
“I am concerned that UC [system] has lost sight of its mission to provide a high-quality education for the California students whose families built and pay for the University [of California],” Atkins said. “As the budget process moves forward, the Assembly is committed to ensuring UC [schools] remains affordable and open for California students.”
Chief Deputy Press Secretary at the Office of the Governor Jim Evans told the Guardian that a proper solution to the spending-funding gap is continuing to develop.
“We continue to work closely with the University of California and the legislature on a budget proposal that reduces the University [of California]’s cost structure, while increasing access and quality,” Evans said.
Relatedly, assembly member Roger Hernandez later introduced AB 837, a bill that would cap the annual salary of all UC employees at $500,000 and, in turn, save the University of California $80 million annually.
Hernandez believes that AB 837 will produce a more equitable allocation of spending.
“Less spending on [University of California’s] bloated executive ranks means more resources will be available for students,” Hernandez said in a March 3 press release. “This bill is directed toward a very small percentage of UC employees who take up a large portion of the UC budget, student funds and taxpayer dollars.”
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger thinks that the salary cap is reasonable, given that most high-profile government officials earn less.
“If the President of the United States, every U.S. governor and the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank can all get by on substantially less than $500,000 per year, there is no reason why employees at a publicly funded university cannot do the same,” Lybarger said.
According to the AFSCME, total UC spending increased by 40 percent between 2007 and 2013 while the salaries of [the University of California’s] highest-earning employees more than tripled from $67 million to $270 million. Moreover, the UC Board of Regents voted to increase tuition by 5 percent for five years in 2014.
Meron told the Guardian that the UC system has not taken a position on the bill yet. However, she noted that the percentage of the UC payroll that the state and student fees fund is declining.
According to Meron, only 3 percent of UC employees earn more than $200,000 per year and non-state funds are used to finance many of their salaries. Furthermore, none of the UC campuses rank above 42nd in terms of chancellor salary out of the nation’s 60 most prominent institutions, except UC San Francisco, which ranks 20th.
“University of California operates in a very competitive, national market,” Meron said. “And we aim to offer all of our employees pay and benefits that are fair and competitive, and that will help us attract and retain highly qualified workers.”