Views and News
March 20, 2007
When California Governor Schwarzenegger froze student tuitions, prior to the November 2006 Election, it was another political strategy to garner votes to win re-election. During that year Governor Schwarzenegger rescinded an 8 percent tuition increase when the California State Legislature found the additional money in the state’s budget.
Schwarzenegger traveled throughout the state speaking with students; boasting his commitment to higher education, making several stops at university and state college campuses.
Now that the elections are over Schwarzenegger has shifted gears; again on his mission to build more prisons and to benefit his special interest partners out of the wallets of college students.
The money that California is investing in the state’s prison system, to house 173,000 inmates, could provide a free education for California’s 626,000 public university students, to include the fees for professional students. In recent years California has added 22 new prisons statewide; now the governor is choosing to build more prisons rather than to invest California revenues into higher education.
Since 2001 undergraduate tuition fees have climbed sharply, more than a 90 percent increase for students at UC and CSU schools; and fees at professional schools are creating a financial hardship on professional students. In 1994, professional school students paid less than $7,000 annually, now the fees for professional students have gone through the ceiling. Professional fees may range between $18,000 to over $27,000 annually.
The recent tuition hikes also come at a time when there are concerns over the outrageous administrative salaries for UC and CSU administrative officials; some salaries being well above $500,000 annually. Since 2005 CSU executives have received an average of 23 percent in pay increases.
The majority of students attending state colleges and universities are mounting up huge debts with education loans that they will be required to repay. Unfortunately, many students will come from families that will not be able to offer any financial assistance. Many others will be employed in low paying jobs, earning less than $30,000 annually, or will be without employment upon graduating. This will jeopardize their credit due to their inability to repay their student loans on time.
Advocate groups for free education consider the tuition hikes to be no less than a tax on students. Governor Schwarzenegger has done nothing to make education affordable for students since he was elected in 2003. In the past the governor’s office has made it clear that education is a right for K-12, but not for higher education.
The new California Lieutenant Governor, John Garamendi, has been quiet about all of the tuition hikes and is watching from the sidelines. Lieutenant Governor Garamendi holds the second highest office in California state government, and as an elected representative the lieutenant governor sits on the Board of the University of California Regents and is the Trustee of the California State Universities.
Since Garamendi took office, in January 2007, he has not spoken against the increased tuition hikes; increases that will cause tens of thousands to sacrifice a good education. This would contradict his campaign commitment to be a forceful advocate for children and hardworking families, “I will be a guardian of higher education.”
It will probably be another three years before students see any breaks in tuition fees because California’s two top executives, Schwarzenegger-(R), and Garamendi-(D), are on the opposite side of the fence from students and working class people.
For more information search the Web for Stewart A. Alexander; Lieutenant Governor Candidate Wants Free Education By 2009; Alexander Wants Students Tips Tax Exempted.