We Oppose SB 969 – Student Fees Should be Reduced with State Support

August 10, 2010

Senator Felipe Fuentes, Chair
Assembly Committee on Appropriations

Re: Oppose SB 969

Dear Chair Fuentes,

The Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) opposes SB 969. Although CUCFA has a record of strong support for affordable public higher education in California, we cannot support the approach in SB 969. In the absence of a commitment from the State to provide healthy support for public higher education, the effect of SB 969 is likely to be a decrease in the educational quality that the University of California can provide to students.

Since 2000-2001, the decrease in State support for the University (on an inflation-adjusted, per student basis) has left the University with no alternative to raising fees as a means to maintain quality. However, since the University is committed to its Master Plan mission to provide quality, access, and affordability, fees have not been raised to the very high levels that would be needed to fully replace the lost State support. As a result, there have been negative impacts on each of the three aspects of the University’s mission. Since SB 969 does not include a long-term commitment from the State to provide adequate support, it would exacerbate this unfortunate situation by placing restrictions on the University’s ability to compensate for lost State support. The result would likely be a much larger decrease in quality. This appears as fewer classes, larger classes, less availability of required classes, deteriorating classroom maintenance, and longer time-to-degree. We recognize that the bill includes language that attempts to provide exceptions to its application in years when there is inadequate State support. However, we believe that those provisions would prove to be insufficient in achieving their desired objective, and quality would suffer over the long term.

The position of CUCFA is that student fees should be reduced and State support should be increased on an inflation adjusted per student basis to the relatively healthy levels of the 2000-2001 fiscal year.

Joe Kiskis
CUCFA Vice President for External Relations,
and Professor of Physics, UC Davis

cc: Members of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations

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