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Letter: Forty percent of Berkeley undergraduates pay no tuition


To the editor:

Your story “Student subsidies of classmates’ tuition add to anger over rising college costs” (August 29, 2012) presents a highly inaccurate impression of the financial-aid assistance and access to classes provided by the University of California, Berkeley.

Context is important here, and your readers should know that 65 percent of our undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. This includes merit scholarships for international students and out-of-state students who are eligible for scholarships, grants, work-study and loans. Further, we are proud of the fact that fully 40 percent of our undergraduates pay no tuition.

Anne M. De Luca

Among middle-class families, students from families that earn less than $80,000 and qualify for aid pay no tuition. And under UC Berkeley’s ground-breaking Middle Class Access Plan, parents of students from the United States with incomes from $80,000 to $140,000 a year pay no more than 15 percent of their annual income toward the annual in-state cost of a UC Berkeley education.

It is true that California residents pay less in tuition than students from outside California. We are, of course, a public university that is partially funded by the state. It is state law that non-Californians must pay tuition equal to the full cost of their education. These additional fees paid by out-of-state and international students benefit all students who attend UC Berkeley: In recent years, these funds have helped us add more than 150 primary course offerings for select courses and more than 450 secondary sections, including discussion sessions and labs. More than 75 percent of our undergraduate courses have fewer than 30 students in a class. Students are gaining access to the classes they need, and they are graduating on time. The average time-to-degree for Berkeley students is eight semesters.

UC Berkeley remains one of the world’s leading universities—we consistently rank among the top five universities in the world, public or private—and we are committed to providing access to a broad cross-section of students.

Enrolling more international students and students from across the country, along with students from across California’s many communities, provides all students with a richer educational experience, exposing them to students from many cultures, backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Our students from California are top scholars and, on average, their counterparts from outside of the state have higher GPAs and test scores.

During a time of financial challenge for many public universities, we are proud of our efforts to ensure access to world-class teaching to students from many income levels, socioeconomic background and interests. And when our students graduate, the 42 percent who have taken out loans are $17,000 in debt, on average—which is far below the average debt of students graduating from peer institutions.


Anne M. De Luca
Associate Vice Chancellor for Admissions and Enrollment
University of California, Berkeley

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Harold S

Ms. De Luca has, perhaps inadvertently, underscored the gross inequity the that original article was about: Some students pay a lot more money so that UC can reduce the tuition of others. A fraction of UC students pay the tuition for the rest.

Milan Moravec

The public’s UC Berkeley harvests money, taxes, family savings from Californians. Cal. is nationally ranked #1 public university total academic cost (resident) with the Provost and Chancellor goal to ‘charge Californians higher tuition’. UC Berkeley tuition is rising faster than costs at other universities. Cal ranked # 2 in faculty earning potential. Believe it: Harvard College less costly.

University of California negates the promise of equality of opportunity: university access, affordability is farther and farther out of reach. Self-absorbed Chancellor Birgeneau, Provost Breslauer are outspoken for Cal. ‘charging Californians much higher’ tuition.

Birgeneau ($450,000) Breslauer ($306,000) like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving them their demanded funding. The ‘charge Californians higher tuition’ skyrocketed fees by an average 14% per year from 2006 to 2011-12 academic years. If Chancellor Provost had allowed fees to rise at the same rate of inflation over the past 10 years they would still be in reach of most middle income students. Breslauer Bergeneau increase disparities in higher education and defeat the promise of equality of opportunity..

Additional state tax funding must sunset. The sluggish economy and 10% unemployment devistate family savings. Simply asking for more taxes to fund self-absorbed Cal.senior leadership, old inefficient higher education practices, excessive faculty staff compensation and burdensome bonuses, is not the answer.

UC Berkeley is to maximize access to the widest number of Californians at a reasonable cost. Birgeneau’s Breslauer’s ‘charge Californians higher’ tuition’ denies middle income families the transformative value of Cal.

The California dream: keep it alive and well. Fire (honorably retire) Provost George W Breslauer. Birgeneau resigned.

Opinions? UC Board of Regents Calif. State Senators, Assembly members.

Milan Moravec

The more non-Californians admitted to University of California the fewer residents can be. Fall admit rate for residents drops to record low 18%. There was a 43 percent jump in the number of affluent foreign and affluent out-of-state students by public University of California Berkeley.

Cal. Chancellor Birgeneau ($450.000), Provost Breslauer ($306,000) shed thousands of eligible instate applicants. Residents are replaced by a $50,600 payment from born abroad affluent foreign and affluent out of state students. And, Birgeneau subsidizes affluent foreign and affluent out of state tuition in the guise of diversity while he doubles (Harvard College now less costly than Cal.) resident tuition.

Birgeneau/Breslauer hapless leadership accepts $50,600 tuition to displace California residents (When depreciation of tax funded assets, infrastructure etc, are included (as they should be), out of state and foreign tuition is more than $100,000 and does NOT subsidize resident tuition.

With the influence of Chancellor Birgeneau, Provost George Breslauer deployed excessive force by campus police – rammed baton jabs – on students protesting Chancellor’s doubling of resident tuition. Sack (honorably retire) disfunctional Provost Breslauer. Birgeneau resigned.

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