University of California faces budget problems, weighs up value of online courses

Mar 25, 2014

University of California President Janet Napolitano is seen at an event on expanding college opportunity in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House on January 16, 2014 in Washington, DC.; Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The University of California system is weighing its options for how to deal with a budget shortfall of more than $120 million.

At a recent Board of Regents meeting, board members expressed skepticism that they would be able to make up the funding gap while holding tuition down to 2012 levels, at $12,500 a year.

Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal allocates an extra $142 million in state funds to the 10-campus system but that still leave the university more than $100 million short. Brown’s offer to boost funding to UC and CSU by 5 percent this year, a 5 percent increase next year and 4 percent increases in the subsequent two years are conditional on the university keeping a freeze in tuition.

UC president Janet Napolitano confirmed this week that she’s committed to not raising tuition through the current school year but it’s unclear where the university will find the extra revenue needed to make up the shortfall.

During the same speech on Monday, Napolitano also questioned the value of online education courses saying they’re a ‘tool’ but that even when done right “doesn’t save all that much money.”

How can the University of California system make up its budget shortfall while still being committed to tuition hikes? How long can UC sustain the tuition freeze?


Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California; former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Jan. 2009 – Sept. 2013)

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