Policy Options for University of California Budgeting, by Charles E. Young


Within a quarter century after the end of World War II (1945-1970), largely because of the support and investment it received from the State, the University of California had changed from two modest-size general campuses (Berkeley and Los Angeles) and the medical campus in San Francisco (UCSF), to a system of eight general campuses. California was at the pinnacle of its success-its economy strong and growing. Since then, however, the fiscal and political problems facing California have led to a steady erosion in funding support for the University of California, and now are leading to a debate regarding its future. If UC has in the past been an engine propelling the growth of California's economy, it would appear to be wise policy to place a high priority on repairing the damage which has been done to it, and will weaken its ability to serve students and the people of the State and nation. While most observers acknowledge that this is a desired goal, there is little agreement on how best to achieve it. Setting aside the limited numbers who would opt for the status quo, this paper discusses three scenarios for UC. The first is a return to the status quo ante; the second is a full move toward privatization; and the third is a hybrid approach. This last option would mean retaining some of the elements of the past partnership between the state and the university, and could be implemented without unrealistic costs to the State or UC, and allow for the continuing academic health of the university. This last option could be exercised by UC as a whole, by several of the campuses operating through UC, or by several campuses (presumably the same ones as discussed under the "privatization" option) becoming quasi-independent of the current system. It could even be exercised, with the approval of campus and UC officials, by schools, colleges or other intra-campus organizations.

Charles E. Young
Publication date: 
March 1, 2011
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
Charles E. Young. (2011). POLICY OPTIONS FOR UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BUDGETING. UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education.