The University of California Board of Regents is once again dancing to Gov. Jerry Brown’s tunes. And students at the University’s professional schools may soon bear the costs of this puppet show.
Last week, the regents were expected to vote on fee increases for 61 UC professional programs, 11 of which are affiliated with UCLA. The increases would take effect as of the 2013-2014 academic year and would to help cover for the rising costs of instruction at many of the schools.
Brown asked the regents to postpone the vote because he wants to understand the policies and methodology associated with the fee increases, according to a University press release. During a press conference at the regents meeting on Wednesday, Brown said it is hard to adequately fund the UC and simultaneously balance the state budget.
“I want the University to see itself in the larger context of the California economy,” Brown said.
We do too. And while we appreciate Brown’s willingness to understand how fees for professional programs work, we are concerned about the ramifications of this postponement on our professional programs and their students.
The UCLA School of Nursing was looking to fee increases to maintain the quality of education, to offset the increasing costs of instruction due to inflation and to accommodate technological advancements, said Bryant Ng, associate dean for administration.
The regents have not made it clear when they will reevaluate the item, or whether a vote will even take place.
“(The vote) could be January, could be March, could be the 12th of never,” UC president Mark Yudof said last week.
We feel that this level of uncertainty is unhealthy for the University. Professional schools should know what their funding models for the upcoming year will look like; and current students, as well as potential applicants, ought to know what their fees will be so they can adequately prepare for them.
UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said many professional schools reported losing enrollments when the regents set this year’s fee levels in July. We cannot afford for this to happen again. Decisions about fee levels for professional schools are typically made a year in advance and the postponement of the vote for 2013-2014 fees will make it difficult for schools, students and potential applicants to plan for next year.
We are also concerned that additional state funding to relieve professional programs from fee increases may not materialize because many public programs compete for funding on the state level.
We urge the regents to take these matters into consideration and vote on the fee increases as soon as possible, and call on the state to be more transparent about whether or not it will be able to provide additional funds for these programs.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board.