32 thoughts on “The price of education

  1. I think it’s signs like these that really grab anyone’s attention. It makes protest/demonstration personal and not just a mass of faceless grievances.

    This is not only creative but expressive : I feel the same thing! I am lucky enough to still have my my FinAid making up the difference for the tuition increases but many aren’t…and even with my tuition paid it’s so hard to get the classes I need to graduate because of the DEEP budget cuts.

  2. The decrease in the funding of higher education is definitely a bad thing long term. Quite simply, it closes doors for people and I guarantee you’re going to see some bad effects from cuts and tuition hikes in the coming years unless it is reversed soon. Poverty and crime will get no better, and in some places get worse.

    Though I think this sign is great, however, I disagree with the recent protests held at UCLA where 14 people were arrested for harassing the UC Reagents.

    The fight is in Sacramento. The fight is in Washington DC. I don’t think the UC or CSU systems (which also saw cuts and fee hikes) can do much at this point. I don’t even think the state can do much. I think California is going to need an infusion of federal money before we get out of this. We as a state are not allowed to take on debt in order to spend our way out of recession. The Feds can.

  3. spokker…the fight is everywhere. Putting pressure on the regents will put pressure all the way up. If they fear action on behalf of students then they will react according to our will.

    This is the way student movements work the WORLD OVER, except in the United States.

  4. “If they fear action on behalf of students then they will react according to our will.”

    They don’t. They won’t.

    There is really nothing they can do. There is hardly anything the state can do.

    Tax hikes are politically infeasible and from an economic standpoint will probably make things worse. Decreases in services are cutting into vital public goods (like transit and education, for example) that actually have positive externalities. We can’t go into debt to raise aggregate demand like the federal government can. We technically have to have a “balanced” budget.

    California is really fucked without a federal infusion of cash, which will probably come with strings attached. I’d like to see an end to ballot propositions, myself.

    Or we could secede and run up a temporary deficit to get out of this. Haha.

  5. I was reading the comments on the LAT blog story about the fee increase and protests. Lots of people complained that students have a sense of entitlement. I want to laugh. I bet those people weren’t complaining when they or their parents benefited from the practically free college education promised in the 1960 Master Plan for higher education. They complain when the students are much less white and male.

    BTW, that sign was from a protest in Berkeley in 2005. Back then we were protesting an 8% fee increase. Oh what I’d give for an 8% increase these days.

  6. “They complain when the students are much less white and male.”

    By that logic, they seem to complain the most when they are Asian!

  7. Students as well as the rest of california had an opportunity to reduce the strain on the states budget, throughout the several elections we had over the years. The special election in May had several ballot measures on it would have provided the state with additional revenue a few years, but it was defeated. In addition to the ballot budgeting that ties up the California general budget. Not that any additional money would have been guaranteed to go to education (more likely than not it would have gone to employees) , but it would have helped the state better manage the budget and arguable lessen the strain on UC and CSU systems. Unfortunately that;s were these student movements come into place when the student fees are about to increase. I think its like trying to stop a freight train when it already rolling down the tracks. You can try to stop it but the results would be disastrous. Things are already bad but without the fee increase universitys would be fucked, that is to say the students would be even more screwed than they already are, cause lets face it they are really the only ones suffering from this.
    Students, like everyone else, would be better off fighting this war before it even gets to the point, stopping the train before it even leaves the depot. Taking an interest in all elections, especially when regarding an budget issue. Cause lets face it we can not afford a high speed train system and provide affordable education. But most students dont take an interest in these issue until it affects them, which my most accounts its already too late.

  8. Damn State of California!

    The students are getting the shaft- they are paying more for less. (and i don’t completely believe them saying that financial aid for students/families making less than $50k or $75k will still be there)

    I know life is not fair but i would expect this kind of thing from a “private” not a “public” educational institution.<—pinches cabrones!

    Im not a student currently but i think paying more for UC Riverside is not worth it, but for say UCLA or UC Berkeley is 🙂

    continue the fight- Demand what you want and more importantly- need.

  9. Students organizers are involved in electoral politics. They lobby legislators in Sacramento and at home. They register students to vote. They write letters, call, etc. The regents are only one target and the protests are only a couple days of action.

  10. There was an interview this week on KPFK, I think on Uprising with an analyst who said the UC Regents are in it to make money, not educate students. They have increased salaries/staff and have even lent tuition money to the government with a huge interest rate(!) The reason they use tuition money is because somehow it flies under the radar when it comes to its legal use. The regents would rather squeeze money out of students, then touch the money they lend out and the money they have in savings—why? because spending the surplus money does not have an interest return. When higher education institutions are being run like a corporation—its time to shut em down and start over again.

  11. I went to a grad school workshop at UCLA the past weekend, they noted the tuition will jump from 10k to over 12k next year. My wife went to UCBerkeley less than 10 years ago and paid around $2k. Before the mid 1980s tuition was virtually free.

    The pinch was they were basically telling us that we would not be able to work, maybe part time but even that’s a stretch. I am not wealthy, my parents cant foot any expenses, how the fuck do they expect normal people to exist and go to school?

  12. I like that the protesters are demanding that the UC go back to the original master plan for higher education, which was to provide free education to all Californians. They aren’t asking for the impossible — they are telling them to go back to the original founding principles.

    In 1960, the state decided that everyone in CA should get a paid-for college education, if they wanted it. The top students would go to UC. The next tier down would go to CSU. Everyone else would have a seat in a Community College.

    Look how far we’ve strayed from that plan — which was in operation in the 1960s! The public system was dismantled… and in its place is something that resembles a private system, though with lower costs.

  13. loveandhatela November 20th, 2009 | 12:09 pm

    brings up a good point. The two flagships for the UC system (UCLA and Cal) clearly have a greater value to the degree than some of the other UC schools (aka Modesto, Davis, Riverside)…perhaps a tiered pricing is in order. One of the reasons UCLA is THE most applied to school in the country is the return on investment, even at 10K-12K a year, its a bargin for the value of the degree, but UCR, not so much…

  14. Actually, what school you go to has little bearing on how much you will ultimately make. The reason UCLA graduates tend to make more on average, however, is selection bias. The people who work hard enough to earn a high wage tend to go to UCLA. However, if you had put that same student into UC Riverside, for example, they would have made nearly as much, suggesting that school reputation isn’t as important as we think. An exceptional student is going to be an exceptional student and a bad student is going to be a bad student, whether they go to UCLA or Cal State.

    It’s a weird way to think but I believe studies have shown that this argument has some merit. That’s not to say exceptional students should attend online courses at one of those loser sites though… But between real schools, you’re going to make what you’re going to make. What matters is how hard you work.

  15. “One of the reasons UCLA is THE most applied to school in the country is the return on investment.”

    -So name brand school= successful? False. This is the biggest myth that is parroted to HS students, and not understood by those who have never attended college. By your logic anybody that has attended say, DUKE for grad school should be well off. Tell that to my buddy that hasn’t worked for almost 2 years since graduating DUKE with a masters and before that getting a BA from UCXX.

    “its a bargin for the value of the degree, but UCR, not so much…”

    – I would put my money on the UCR graduate that received a B”S” degree on any math or science based field than a UCLA grad who received a B”A” in communications, journalism,liberal arts, chicano studies etc.. Not necessarily because the latter subjects aren’t interesting or stimulating, but they aren’t worth their merit out in the labor pool, unless of course the return to academia as a professor was the ultimate goal, and as we all have witnessed recently, during tough economic times, those jobs are highly expendable.

    “Actually, what school you go to has little bearing on how much you will ultimately make”.

    -I agree with this statement. It goes back to the type of degree someone has received. A bullshit degree is worthless out in the real world, the market doesn’t place high income value to someone with an education based on “general studies” or whatever other random degree offered. What brings in high incomes are the specific studies, ie; “engineering” anything.

  16. 16he-
    why do you use the Duke example instead of saying ” a masters from the university of phoenix”? Cause the Duke example means something to people…the assumption is that with a name like that s/he shouldn’t be unemployed right? I think you’ve made the case for me. Not to mention, if your buddy thinks its tough being unemployed with a masters from Duke, try being unemployed with a 6th grade education. The ROI argument is to say that all other things being equal, a duke degree is more valuable to a university of B.F.E (Butt F*ck Egypt)

    UCR with a BS v UCLA with a BA…ummm you missed the point. UCLA v UCR is NOT the comparison. UCLA at 10-12K compared to a private school tuition at 20-30K…that’s the correct comparison. Not to mention that you’ve selected parameters to your advantage and don’t reference how you would grade say a BS from UCLA and a BS from UCR.

    Finally, don’t think name recognition matters? OK, how about numbers. Of the UC campuses, the highest average SAT and GPA scores for entering freshman students are at UCLA and Cal. Competition amongst higher achieving students is greater. Having succeeded among greater competition fosters a greater value of degree. Don’t think so? Which school would you rather have your kid graduate from UCLA or Cal State LA? Which school would you rather HIRE an engineer from UCB or Devry?

    Spokker
    Point well taken about working hard, but you also seem to make my case about the value of an elite school degree.

    It is what it is. All I’m saying is that the UC system should recognize that some of its campuses are a greater value than others. If they created a sliding scale for tuition based on this equation it could help further subsidize the entire UC system.

    In real terms, I’m willing to pay a greater share of my pay check towards subsidizing higher education and until more people are willing to do so, we are all left with more of the same.

  17. In your OP you cited L&HLA and wrote:
    “The two flagships for the UC system (UCLA and Cal) clearly have a greater value to the degree than some of the other UC schools (aka Modesto, Davis, Riverside)…”

    I’m assuming from L&HLA’s comment stating:
    “i think paying more for UC Riverside is not worth it, but for say UCLA or UC Berkeley is”.

    you went on and suggested:
    “perhaps a tiered pricing is in order”.

    That is when I wrote:
    “So name brand school= successful?”

    I stated that equation is not true and used DU as an example to show you that even with a master’s from a powerhouse like DU, my friend has been unemployed for two years.

    You even went on and wrote to Spokker:
    “All I’m saying is that the UC system should recognize that some of its campuses are a greater value than others”.

    Your comment above is what my initial response to was. Your comment is false. No campuses are greater value than others.

    I went on to agree with Spokker and I recognized his comment reading:
    “Actually, what school you go to has little bearing on how much you will ultimately make”.

    because the name of the school truly doesn’t matter. It’s what kind of piece of paper you are walking out with in the end. That’s when I went into differentiating between any old degree from UCLA to a specific degree from UCR. To aid you in divorcing the notion that just because you went a to “flagship” school your degree is worth more than a degree from another non-“flagship” school.

    Regarding:
    “Which school would you rather have your kid graduate from UCLA or Cal State LA?
    Not being familiar with CSULA, a few strokes of the keyboard showed it offers civil engineering,mechanical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, etc..
    UCLA offers degrees such as Art History B.A., M.A., Ph.D.,
    Chicana and Chicano Studies B.A.,East Asian Studies B.A., M.A.,Global Studies B.A.,Moving Image Archive Studies M.A.

    -so to answer your question, I would rather have my kid walk out of CSULA having studied “engineering” anything than to have him walk out from UCLA having studied moving image archiving.

    You also wrote:
    “Not to mention that you’ve selected parameters to your advantage and don’t reference how you would grade say a BS from UCLA and a BS from UCR”.
    and
    “Which school would you rather HIRE an engineer from UCB or Devry?”

    – My whole response was not the difference between BS from here vs BS from there. They are the same. Proving to you that there is no such thing as more valuable campuses vs less valuable campuses as you have so many times asserted. In the big picture anybody with a degree in a math/science field will be rewarded with a high income because that is the value the labor market will place on them. (ceterus paribus, each person searches for a job in the field that they chose to study)

  18. LOL! yes no sense, sure.
    because after a 14 hour day of calc and physics I need a few fleeting moments of mindless activity, hence I read blogs. 😉

  19. There seems to be some wide jump in logic the the argument of name brand school vs generic brand schools and the value of degrees.

    I agree that the focus should be more on the type of degree than the type of college. Physical sciences, engineering and such have a greater demand than social sciences so those students have better employment prospects. Though you might be proud that ur kid graduated from UCLA with a BA, master, whatever in ethnic studies, chances are that the neighbors kid who graduated from American Career college as a medical assistant probably already has a job and earning good money. Thats because the job market has more of a need for those types students.

    But to return to the issue of name brand schools vs lesser known schools, taking the same degree from both wont necessarily mean that the schools departments are equal. More notable departments have usually earned their reputation as a engineering school, architecture, science, business or whatever. Both Cal state San Bernardino and UCLA have programs in chemistry, but UCLA has a research institutes and many other resources that make it a well regarded program. Thus if ur kid could graduate from UCLA or CSUSB with a BS in Chemistry i think more people would prefer UCLA. Thus these name brand schools gain a reputation through the value and strength of the academic programs. So there is a difference in value of these schools as a result of their individual programs.

    I may have read it here or elsewhere but there is suggestion that a students tuition should be determined by their major. Majors like engineering and sciences are usually more expensive for a university and those students should in those majors should pay more than a social science student which doesn’t cost a university as much.

  20. “Alienation

    I like that the protesters are demanding that the UC go back to the original master plan for higher education, which was to provide free education to all Californians. They aren’t asking for the impossible — they are telling them to go back to the original founding principles”

    Actually it probably would be impossible The 50s and 60s were a gold era for California. Industry was booming and money was growing on trees. Currently revenue sources make giving all Californian a free education impossible. The University system has expanded academic fields dramatically over the last 40 years. Ethic studies classes were rare if at all existent. New technology has compounded the cost of education although improving it(computers cost more money over books.)In addition to the increase in California’s population. Plus most of us minorities would probably have not qualified to go to college. Our education would have ended with the trade that we were thought in high school.

  21. sorry for the numerous post, but my browser had a glitch.

    anyway i’ll sum up my point. The expanded level of education that the college system is expected to provide is no longer inline with revenue that state receives. It is inaccurate to try to compare the 50’s or 60’s to the current situation. The college Master Plan should be revamped to provide a better education to its students. Not necessarily for free after all expecting a student to contribute a few thousand dollars for a degree that will yield them much more back is a good investment. It should also look into tiered pricing levels for students as well, as specializing colleges. Instead of half-assing two Arts Programs at Pomona and Fullerton. Provide one good program, where students can get the classes they need to graduate in four years instead of 6. Anyway thats my rant for now

  22. Your argument doesn’t seem to jibe with reality. CA’s growth has outpaced the nation’s. We’ve transitioned from a defense/war based economy to a tech/media economy. We have several key PacRim ports, so globalization hasn’t harmed CA that much.

    Meanwhile our population growth has been mostly linear.

    Our economy, in GDP, is around the same as France, and our population is half of France’s. France has free college.

    I’m not certain, but I suspect that, per capita, in adjusted dollars, we’re wealthier than in the 1960s. Our per-capita income, however, never seems to keep up. Rather than perptuating a growing middle class, we’re becoming a “Tale of Two States” of rich and poor.

    The shortfall in wages may contribute to budget shortfalls (and also high taxes). The current crisis is due to deflating the housing bubble, but longer-term, the money available to education has declined.

    Cutting back on education funding is false economy. When more people are educated, the price of educated labor declines. That makes it more feasible to invest in “hi tech”, high-value ventures.

    When students acquire debt to get an education, they are forced to fight for the highest-paid work. That means working for established companies or sectors (i.e. finance, defense, corporate law). They are less likely to take work that pays less, or is a public good. This impedes innovation.

    Look at what we have. $99 jeans, and 99 cents stores. Inflationary pressures at the high end, due to growth in high-pay jobs, but deflationary pressure among the working class. And worse, you gain productivity increases by worker speedups rather than by developing new technologies.

  23. agree with your analysis thus far.

    but re;
    “They are less likely to take work that pays less, or is a public good. This impedes innovation”.

    -can you clarify “impedes innovation”?
    -If I am following you correctly, the impedance would happen in the production of public goods not private goods right?

    -Therefore private goods (ie; cars,computers,phones) innovation would advance relatively quicker no?

    “productivity increases by worker speedups rather than by developing new technologies”.

    -quicker innovation would mean the development of new, and the improvement of existing technology right?

  24. “Your argument doesn’t seem to jibe with reality. “
    I am going with the assumption that you don’t agree that is wrong try to compare California in the 1970 to current California, in terms of the economic climate.

    “CA’s growth has outpaced the nation’s. We’ve transitioned from a defense/war based economy to a tech/media economy. We have several key PacRim ports, so globalization hasn’t harmed CA that much.”
    I agree that CA’s economy has grown and it may have outpaced the rest of the US, but its spending has also increased. It spends more now than it ever did during the 1970s, no matter how you look at it, as a percentage of revenue or total income adjusted for inflation. http://www.lao.ca.gov/laoapp/LAOMenus/lao_menu_economics.aspx From having years of surpass to resorting to borrowing and accounting tricks to balance the budget.

    I don’t agree that California’s tech and media has replaced the defense industry in terms of job percentages. And per captia income adjusted for inflation has decreased since then although not significantly. But I would agree with your statement of the increased gap between the rich and the poor. (Stats were not easily accessible online, I’m sure I could look them up if I tried but that more work than I care to do)
    I also would disagree with the impact on globalization on California, I would argue that it has scattered out manufacturing industries. (but again more work than I care to do to provide stats.)

    “Meanwhile our population growth has been mostly linear.”
    You are right that population growth has been linear, but it’s been a sharp upward linear growth line, from about 20 million in 1970 to 35 million in 2000 (http://www.censusscope.org/us/s6/chart_popl.html) and by 2010 we are probably looking at 40 million. So in the last 40 years the California’s population will have nearly doubled. Part of the issue is that although the state has increased spending on schools it that increase in spending doesn’t keep up with the growth of the population. So while spending on education may have increases to 160% of 1970s levels the population has roughly grown 200%. (http://www.lao.ca.gov/presentations/050400_budgets_taxes_spending/050400_budgets_taxes_spending_files/UCLA_May00.pdf )

    So if ur still reading this despite all the lame stats, thank you. But to sum it up Cali spends more now overall per person than it did when in the 1970, but spends less on education. We spend more on other stuff, some good (social services) some bad (bureaucracy). Some of Cali’s budget problems also stem from its volatile tax structure http://www.cotce.ca.gov/ ; http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471504574443413742032356.html the state has had problems before the housing bubble blew. But I don’t want to digress too much. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for an affordable higher education system, shit I’m a product of it. However, free higher education might as well ask for honest politicians. Students should work to maintain an affordable education, but understand that the cost to the state in terms of spending in growing much more than the Master Plan ever anticipated. The CA Master Plan for education is obsolete and should be rethought if the state is to keep up with the needs of the population.

  25. sorry browser glitch as i was trying to edit my post, i meant to write.

    Students should work to maintain an affordable education, but understand the cost to the state as a result of population growth that the Master Plan never anticipated. As well the CA Master Plan for education is obsolete and should be rethought if the state is to keep up with the needs of the population.

  26. We sure do have money to lock people away from non violent drug offenses though, don’t we? And to enforce marijuana laws. We’re never too broke for that, nor building more prisons to house more people arrested for such laws. We have money to give contracts to private companies to do unnecessary construction projects, too, where they’re not even using union labor. In other words, almost all of the money is going to the contractors, a small fraction to the labor. We’re never too broke for that, either. But there’s no money for education. Sorry, it’s all spent! (obviously).

  27. [Sorry this reply has taken a while. I am enjoying this discussion, but time is short and these essays get longer and longer.]

    -“They are less likely to take work that pays less, or is a public good. This impedes innovation”.

    –can you clarify “impedes innovation”?
    –If I am following you correctly, the impedance would happen in the production of public goods not private goods right?

    By public good, I mean something that’s of benefit to the general public. I do not mean something made by the government (though the government specializes in public goods). Google’s search is a public good. So is a bookstore, even if run for profit, if it’s run in a way that genuinely benefits the community.

    I think that public goods, taken together, tend to be more innovative than private goods, taken together.

    The innovations that public goods produce tend to be “rough” or unfinished, but there are a lot of them. They’re like experiements. The good ideas get smoothed over time.

    Private goods are constrained by the need to turn a profit. So, companies tend to either integrate many innovations into finished products (or integrated services), or they tend to focus on a narrow innovation and mass-produce a single component or service (and sell to companies that make end products).

    Nothing is entirely public or private. Things tend to be in-between in degrees, but government and universities tend to produce the public goods, and firms produce private goods.

    To get back to the education issue — imagine that some college student figured out how to get us out of this economic mess. A girl or boy genius. I don’t mean they found a magic key, but that they created a very complex, but feasible way out, that would actually improve our society.

    Would you rather that this person graduate with $200,000 in debt, or no debt at all?

    Now, imagine that they’re looking for work. They go to the US government, maybe the CBO, and are offered a job at $40,000 a year. They go to one of the big banks, like JP Morgan, and are offered $70,000 a year. Neither increases the salary offer because they don’t realize this applicant is a genius — because the interviewers and lower level managers aren’t smart enough to know.

    If this student is carrying heavy debts, they’re motivated to take the bank job, at least for a few years.

    I tend to think that in the private system, the knowledge would often be “enclosed” and diverted to generate profit. This consumes money and time.

    In the public system, the pressures to enclose would be less, and research papers or notes would, at least, be “out there”. People outside her/his office or social circle could find and become advocates for this person.

    –Therefore private goods (ie; cars,computers,phones) innovation would advance relatively quicker no?

    No. Advances in cars, computers, and phones have been painfully slow, impeded by market needs. Examples:

    Cars need to run on gas to be compatible with gas stations.

    Personal computers need to support the Intel instruction set, to run Windows.

    New cell phone models are so expensive that they need subsidies – and getting revenues to cover the subsidy supposedly takes two years.

    On the consumer front, things move slowly.

    On the other side, on the patent front, things move a lot, lot faster.

    And in the totally free front, it’s even faster.

    The only thing with the public side is that these ideas aren’t integrated into products and services that are easy to purchase and use.

    -“productivity increases by worker speedups rather than by developing new technologies”.
    –quicker innovation would mean the development of new, and the improvement of existing technology right?

    Yes.

    Though, by technology I also mean better techniques as well as equipment. I misstated myself.

    I made a mistaken assertion that I thought most of the productivity gains were just worker speedups. While I think work is being sped up – it appears that there actually haven’t been large productivity gains recently. There have been moderate (mostly) gains, year-over-year, according to the BLS. -1% to +5% depending on sector.

    There were big quarter-to-quarter increases, but, that’s mostly due to seasonal increases.

    I can’t tell where this modest productivity increase originates.

    The reason why I assumed it was a speedup is because you can’t deploy technology/technique that quickly, and it tends to cost more than labor, at first, so unless you know you’ll make it back, you probably won’t buy it in this lousy economy. (And credit sucks right now.)

  28. @the artist formerly known as rob

    I think we’re on the same page, at least.

    The issue is, as you state it – the share of the budget going to education has declined. Education has also declined. Perhaps there’s a real, causal relationship there, and the real solution is to increase funding for education. I’m sure some PhDs could prove this with studies.

    The population growth has been linear, so, the budget growth should have been pretty predictable. (BTW – I was looking at some other numbers starting around 1900. Even going back that far, we had rapid, yet linear growth.)

    I agree that the Master Plan is obsolete. We need around six years of higher education covered by the state, not just four. We need better integration with K12. The times demand more education, with less debt.

    Would anyone say otherwise? Does anyone think we need more debt and less education? Because, that’s where we’re headed – greater elitism in public education.

    I don’t agree with the tax commissions and WSJs thesis that it’s a progressive income tax that’s CA’s main problem. We have a high sales tax, and a low property tax (and Prop 13), and neither are progressive. The WSJ just likes regressive taxes because their readership tend to be upper-middle-class and wealthy.

    Then can think, wishfully, that the tax reform proposed is politically feasible, but it’s not. It looks like a big tax cut for millionaires, with a few crumbs for the middle class and poor.

    They really have to come up with a different “deal”, where people will get increases in necessary services in exchange for what will amount to a big increase in expenses to the poor and middle class.

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