UCLA Research Center Releases Studies Showing Barriers To College From State Budget Cuts Growing
Contact: Gary Orfield (310) 427-9154
Patricia Gándara (916) 425-1244
CRP Office (310) 267-5562; email@example.com
SACRAMENTO--June 15, 2011--Today, as the legislature struggles to come up with a budget for the state, the Civil Rights Project at UCLA is releasing a series of reports developed over the last year that examine the impact of budget cuts to the California State University system. The CSU remains the linchpin to a college degree for the majority of Latino, African American and American Indian students in the state, so there are major civil rights implications to these budget cuts. The reports clearly show the very dramatic impact of cuts implemented prior to this year, with huge cuts now being imposed certain to intensify the situation.
In a policy briefing today, representatives of the California Senate Education Committee, the California Postsecondary Education Commission, and the Legislative Analyst's Office will comment on the studies and offer their perspectives on where the state goes from here. The briefing will be held from 1:30 – 3:00 pm today at the UC Center Sacramento, Large Conference Room (LL3), 1130 K Street in Sacramento.
For many years, California has restricted access to four-year public colleges more than many other states, accepting only the top third of students to the CSU system. It is now well into the process of further limiting access just as college becomes much more important. Just yesterday, the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC released a new economic study showing that even at the peak of the current Great Recession, young people with college degrees were earning nearly twice as much as high school graduates, and were far less likely to be unemployed. At twenty-three and twenty-four years of age, college graduates made $581/week compared to the $305/week earned by high school graduates. More than a third of high school graduates and 57% of young dropouts were jobless -- but college graduates fared much better. No matter how discouraging the job market seems, it is much better for young graduates than for those without degrees.
Among the many findings of the Civil Rights Project studies:
- A survey of students at the Northridge campus shows widespread family distress, tremendous pressure on students struggling to meet rising costs, and the loss of a year or more in completing their studies because of the lack of key classes.
- Surveying faculty across the system, coupled with in-depth interviews on one campus, shows that faculty feel intense pressure from larger classes, do more with less support, worry about students desperate for classes, are unable to carry out research, limit their professional activities and have widespread pessimism about the future of their university.
- Most of California’s Latino and African American students attend weak segregated high schools, have little information about college and often need remediation regardless of their abilities. This means that outreach, counseling, support services and remediation are critical yet these services are being substantially reduced by cutbacks. This, together with earlier deadlines imposed by space constraints, works to limit the most disadvantaged students in particular.
California in 2011 has 37, 511,000 residents, according to demographers in the state Finance Department. This year’s already-enacted budget cut for the California State University system, the state’s largest university system and the most important source of college degrees, is $500 million. This cut will save every resident in California an average of $13.33 during the year, or $39.65 per household. The daily savings -- if all the cuts were to go back to households rather than to corporations -- would be less than 11 cents a day. If the cuts were doubled in an “all-cuts” budget, because of the failure of the legislature to come up with revenue, it could be a savings of up to 22 cents a day. An additional 150 million dollar cut would produce an additional 7 cents a day in savings, but the cuts would yield much less in actual savings since much of the cuts do not directly return to individual households.
Civil Rights Project Co-Director, Gary Orfield, commented: “There is no balancing of costs and benefits in this situation. A minority of legislators have denied the right of the people of California to decide whether this is a wise decision. For this trivial amount of money, the state is drastically shrinking opportunity to college. It is difficult to believe that many Californians would want to gravely damage college access for pennies.”
Opponents of funding the CSU defend very small tax cuts for citizens of California, in favor of imposing huge new taxes in the form of tuition increases on all of the students, since the colleges have no other way to get the money they need to operate even at a reduced level.
CRP Co-director, Patricia Gándara states it this way, “Short-sighted policies mean California is eating its seed corn, cutting off access to college, in a state already projected to be short a million college graduates needed for its future labor market.”
The studies included in the series, The CSU Crisis and California’s Future, include seven commissioned by a panel of experts from among research proposals from across the state:
Squeezed From All Sides: A Survey Of Students At CSUN by Patricia Gándara And Gary Orfield
Faculty Under Siege: Demoralization And Educational Decline In The CSU by Gary Orfield
The Worst Of Times: Faculty Productivity And Job Satisfaction During The CSU Crisis by Helen H. Hyun, Rafael M. Diaz, And Sahar Khoury
Higher Tuition, More Work, And Academic Harm: An Examination Of The Impact Of Tuition Hikes On The Employment Experiences Of Under-Represented Minority Students by Amy Leisenring
The State University Grant Program And Its Effects On Underrepresented Students at The CSU by José L. Santos
Remediation As A Civil Rights Issue In The California State University System by Kimberly R. King, Suzanne Mcevoy, And Steve Teixeira
Economic Crisis And The California State Public University: The Institutional, Professional And Personal Effects On Faculty And Students by David Boyns, Amy Denissen, And Alexandra Gerbasi
You Will Have To Work Ten Times As Hard At The CSU: Reducing Outreach And Recruitment In Times Of Economic Crisis by Rebecca Joseph With The Assistance Of Mario Castaneda
About the Civil Rights Project at UCLA
Founded in 1996 by former Harvard professors Gary Orfield and Christopher Edley Jr., the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles is now co-directed by Orfield and Patricia Gándara, professors at UCLA. Its mission is to create a new generation of research in social science and law on the critical issues of civil rights and equal opportunity for racial and ethnic groups in the United States. It has commissioned more than 400 studies, published 13 books and issued numerous reports from authors at universities and research centers across the country. The Supreme Court, in its 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision, cited the Civil Rights Project's research.