So-called innovations that lower the cost of tuition won't address the University of California's problems, University of California System President Janet Napolitano said at a National Journal Live event Thursday in San Jose. But state funding might.
"In the never-ending quest to innovate higher education, the major focus has been making colleges and universities cheaper—cheaper for students, cheaper for state legislators, and cheaper for those who run the institutions," said Napolitano. "In the process, we run the risk of cheapening the education itself."
Napolitano is currently locked in a battle with Gov. Jerry Brown and the California legislature over the system's budget. University leaders want more state funding or the ability to be able to raise tuition every year for the next five years. But Brown has written a tuition freeze into his budget plan. Last month, Napolitano said that UC will cap the number of in-state students it admits if the system doesn't get more funding.
"We're doing everything we can to manage costs," she said at the event. "But all costs are not waste." The UC system gets the same amount of state funding that it received in 1999, Napolitano noted, even though enrollment has grown tremendously in the meantime. The system has had to raise tuition and enroll more out-of-state students, who pay higher tuition than Californians.