Editor, Daily Nexus,
When I read the article by Bert Viloria titled “The Reader’s Voice: Don’t Take Budget Woes Out on In-State Students” (Daily Nexus, May 23, 2003), my first reaction was how unfair the article was toward out-of-state students. I thought it might be a joke by someone, but I don’t see why this would be funny. I agree with the author that UCSB offers high quality education, which was one of the reasons why I chose this school three years ago. Despite the amount I would have to pay as an out-of-state student, I decided that it was worth the money to attend UCSB. However, if Viloria’s suggestion is taken, I’m afraid that many non-residents will no longer be able to afford the tuition and fees.
Let me start with a few facts pertaining to undergraduate students. Ninety-four percent of UCSB students are residents and 6 percent are non-residents. In “A Few Reasons to Pay More,” (Daily Nexus, May 22, 2003) UC President Richard Atkinson stated that under current budgets, next year’s extra fee increase would be $795 for residents, and $925 for non-residents. If out-of-state students are solely responsible for this fee, then next year’s in-state tuition will be around $5200, while out-of-state tuition will jump up to $31,000, more than most Ivy League tuitions.
Is this a feasible idea? Quoting President Atkinson’s article: “In general, financially needy undergraduates from families with annual incomes of $60,000 or less will not have to pay the fee increase; a UC grant or Cal Grant will offset it. Also, in general, other financially needy undergraduates from families with incomes up to $90,000 would receive a UC grant covering at least a portion of the fee increase.” Out-of-state students cannot get Cal Grants. If the proposed fee increase is transferred solely to these non-residents, many will simply not be able to afford the tuition.
Then what happens? Either a higher fee has to be transferred to in-state students to make up the loss or the out-of-state rate will go up even more, as fewer and fewer non-residents enroll. Regardless, most of the fee increase will be transferred to in-state students when out-of-state tuition becomes so high that it will not be affordable for most families outside California. Think of all your friends from out of state. Do you really want them to leave because they can no longer afford an education at UCSB?
I urge readers to consider if this is reasonable. It is not the students’ fault that the state will implement budget cuts or that the costs of running a university increase over time. Given that budget cuts and rising costs are a part of reality, everyone should do their part in making up the difference without putting the burden squarely on any particular group’s shoulders. The “modest proposal” put forth by Viloria may seem like a good idea to some now, but the long-term consequences will outgrow any perceived short-term benefits.