ERIC Number: ED357717
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
The California Higher Education Policy Vacuum. The Example of Student Fees.
Callan, Patrick M.
California state legislators are showing a lack of long-term leadership and vision in their planning for the state's higher education needs as indicated in their recent decisions regarding increased tuition and fees. California's public higher education system stands at the nexus of two powerful trends: the long-term social, demographic, technological, and economic trends which call for imaginative and often costly responses and the almost unprecedented State and national fiscal stringency which severely limits the capacity for informed, long-term response. Student fee policy is one of the most important aspects of State higher education policy. Emphasis is justified by the currency of student fee issues: both the University Regents and the State University Trustees increased undergraduate student fees by more than 35 percent at their March 1993 meetings. In addition, since January of 1993 all California Community College students have paid higher fees imposed by the Legislature. It is important to remember, however, that student fee policy is only one aspect of State higher education policy. Of equal importance, State policies on such matters as student financial aid, faculty productivity, and new or improved physical facilities are unclear, outdated, or nonexistent. Action on student fee increases reflect deeper questions concerning policy directions for higher education. In 1993, each of the three public segments (the public colleges and universities, the State University, and the California Community Colleges) sought additional revenues from student fees and--in the absence of State policy relevant to the times--each pursued its separate interests without regard either to the other segments or the long-term interests of the State--and with less than adequate consideration of the interests of the students. In light of demographic changes taking place, the role of education in shaping a labor force and other considerations, a comprehensive State policy concerning higher education is required, a policy that, while accounting for immediate financial stress, anticipates a tomorrow radically different from today. (JB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: California Higher Education Policy Center, San Jose.
Identifiers - Location: California