Out-of-State Students Called ‘Big Boost’

Good news for the people of Arkansas, Utah or Nevada maybe, but Californians?

I recently read in the press that out-of-staters are a big boost for the University of California’s (UC) system because higher enrollment means more cash. As environmentalists like to say, “Every cloud has a sulfur lining,” but even as a Pollyannaish Panglossian it is difficult to cipher any good news in the article. How are out-of-staters who bump California students out of UC seats, perceived as good news?

Good news for the people of Arkansas, Utah or Nevada maybe, but Californians?

Gov. Jerry Brown recently boasted that his budget included $6.8 billion for higher education in California; that’s the amount that the State of California a.k.a. tax payers contributed directly to the UC system so that California children could attend the University of California; graduate and buoy the California economy.

Strange that we should feel warm and fuzzy knowing that this year’s freshman class will be comprised of 25,745 nonresident students, an increase of 3,000 over last year. That’s progress?
And this is an accomplishment we as Californians should be celebrating? 

A parent interviewed for the article swooned, “I’m hoping my kids have access to what’s been the historic and amazing UC system.” Chances are, his kids will not “have access to … the historic and amazing UC system.” Most kids won’t stand a snowball’s chance.

Why? Because the UC system has become fiercely competitive; each year as the number of seats reserved for California students ratchets downward, the remaining seats go to higher and higher academic bidders: students with 4.4 GPAs or higher.
Why? Because the UC system has been hijacked by an expanding bureaucratic class.

This school of remora — that the insensitive, impolitic and unindoctrinated types who read Ayn Rand novels would call looters or kleptocrats — has descended on higher education.

The UC system has followed the example of the California State University system, the second tier in that state’s public higher education. Between 1975 and 2008, the number of full-time faculty members rose by 3 percent, to 12,019 positions; during those same years, the number of administrators rose 221 percent, to 12,183. 

There are more administrators than teachers at Cal State now. Given the larding-up of higher education in California, is there any wonder that the cost of a UC education has doubled since 2006?

Not only have battalions of sanguivorous administrators infiltrated the system, but salaries and benefits for muck mucks have also soared. Strangely, liberal academia which routinely vilifies the capitalist and entrepreneurial classes never raises a modicum of protest as these exponential increases in UC operating costs continue; why? Because the students will pay?

UC Davis hired an associate chancellor for strategic communications at an annual salary of $260,000: nearly $100,000 more or less than the governor earns.

An associate vice chancellor for strategic communications, also at Davis, earned $182,000; an interim execution director of strategic communications at Davis earned $203,000 in 2012.

UC Davis paid out an additional $234,000 in airline ticketing costs because six of its 17 deans — talk about administrative lard — at the campus routinely “submitted doctors’ notes saying they have a medical need to fly in a class other than economy.”

A provost within the UC system is knocking down $380,000; a chancellor at UC San Diego gets $350,000 per year. Faculty pay is flat yet tuition is itching to continue rising. There is no limit to the looting and larding that this class of bureaucrats can’t visit on UC campuses.

To pick up the tab, students will just have to apply for bigger and bigger bone crushing loans that could easily take a lifetime to pay off. Who within the UC system will complain?

Certainly not Robert Reich, the professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and author of Beyond Outrage. His outrage is limited to the over-paid private enterprise executives whom the public sector points to in order justify ever their ever expanding salary schedule and inflating benefits package; both are escalating costs that UC students will just have to absorb.

Janet Napolitano, the first woman UC president, has a base salary of $570,000 a year, in addition she receives free housing in a UC-leased — at students’ expense — house; she knocks down $8,916 a year for car expenses and was given $142,500 to relocate here from the east coast.

n $8,916 to drive her car? Averaging a steady safe 55 miles per hour and $4 per gallon, she would have to drive 70,000 miles and sit behind the wheel for 51 days without even a bathroom break to burn up her driving allowance.

n $142,500 to relocate? Did she move her household goods or her entire house?

It was reported that the bloated supervisory staff at UC Berkeley oversaw an average of 5.1 employees per overpaid mugwump. Are Berkeley professors that devious that they need that much bureaucratic scrutiny? Couldn’t we hire trustworthy and motivated professors who don’t need so much supervision and prodding?

As a teacher in a public high school, I witness straight “A” students reacting to rejection letters from the UC system. Perhaps if they read that “Out-of staters are a big boost for UC” they would perk up a bit knowing their displacement was for the good of the UC system.

Jeffrey R Smith is a math teacher at Encinal High School.