While addressing the grad student strike at UC, this article also explains why student tuition is under-funded: an unnecessary gap between funding pegged to per capita income and the state and university administration that doesn’t value education.
Now I understand that someone can object that there is no logical reason why UC (or higher ed funding in general) should perfectly track per capital income. As both the Coronavirus and the homeless crisis remind us, new challenges do emerge that divert funding. But the striking thing about the graph is both the size of the gap and its growth over time. Moreover, by taking 2001 as a baseline (and not, say, 1970) the graph demonstrates not only that there is no economic necessity for the decline in per capita funding but it also highlights the gaps ideological nature by connecting it to the administrations of Arnold Schwarzenegger (whose ultimately broken compact with higher education included the demand that students assume more financial burden for their public education) and Jerry Brown (who refused to recognize the numerous ways that UC supports the state beyond its function as a grantor of undergraduate degrees). The mess we face today is an ideologically-driven under-funding that has been accepted (when not encouraged) by the University’s leadership. And this says nothing about the effects of twenty years of student enrollment growth since this graph is presented in nominal dollars.
The result is an unnecessary growth in student debt.