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Dismantling College Opportunity in California

Date Published: June 15, 2011

These studies released today call attention to the fact that cuts to higher education impact students, their families, CSU faculty, and staff well beyond the classroom. Reduction in access, retention, and increase in cost are disproportionately impacting traditionally underrepresented students, and are being felt within their personal lives.
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These three reports constitute Part Four of The CSU Crisis and California's Future:

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


From the Foreword by Gary Orfield

As we face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, college opportunity has been negatively impacted by drastic cuts and the rising cost of education. In California specifically, higher education opportunity seems to be nearly out of reach for low-income students, academically unprepared students, and students of color. Historically, higher education has been considered a mechanism of upward mobility. Considered part of the “American Dream,” parents encourage their children to strive for this goal, even if parents themselves never attended college.

Academically underprepared students, or this lacking the basic skills of math ad/or English to be at college-level, represent over half of entering freshmen at the CSU. What these startling numbers really represent is a growing number of underprepared students graduating California high schools, often with excellent grades, yet being denied admission of the state’s public institutions. Despite California’s commitment to universal access to all who can benefit and tuition-free education, what we are seeing is an inability to uphold this social contract at the cost of student’s futures.

The negative impact of budget cuts has been felt beyond the students and their families. Recent pay cuts, furloughs, and other declines in financial support have also impacted faculty and staff at the CSU campuses. Increasingly, faculty and staff have feelings of unfairness, as they struggle to provide services and quality education to students, yet experience enormous cut after cut. Morale continues to plummet as faculty and staff are expected to perform the duties of educating the stat’s youth, ye the value of education seems practically non-existent within the state’s budget priorities.

In compliance with the UC Open Access Policy, this report has been made available on eScholarship:

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