In Early July, I received an email from my graduate department here at UCLA. It was a good news letter stating I was awarded a departmental fellowship to help pay for my education. It was a modest award of around $3,000, but very much appreciated. At the end of July, I received another letter. This letter was not so good news concerning recent meeting of the UC Regents (the governing body of the University of California system). The Regents had approved yet another increase in student fees for both undergraduate and graduate students in response to decreasing financial support from the state.
Last year when I began my masters education, the university fees were around $11,500 for graduate degrees. With the new increase, the fees are now near $14,600. As I pondered over this reality, I realized that my departmental fellowship would be negated by the increase in fees, leaving me largely in the same place I was last year with the same amount of debt obligation I would need to take on. As a native Californian and student, I am truly saddened by how poorly my fellow Californians seem to care about the education of its future generations as well as the future of our state.
There is little disagreement that the California’s higher public education system is in decline. Though some may argue the merits of decreasing state support for these insititutions of higher education, many are willing to concede that the system if struggling. State financial support has dropped considerably in the last decade alone, but has been dropping steadily since its height.