By Ashley Sinatra
My expected graduation date was printed on the top of my transcripts: May 31, 2010. Then California State Universities were hit with a massive budget cut. This cut lead to several campuses cutting classes, raising tuition prices, cutting teacher’s salaries and hours, and closing off admission for new college-goers. May 31, 2010 looks a lot less hopeful now.
With only thirty units left until I receive my English degree, I had to beg teachers to let me in their classes. I emailed every teacher trying to persuade them to let me be the first on the waiting list if anyone dropped. I had to borrow a few thousand dollars from my boyfriend when loan companies did not want to help me with my last-minute request for the 32% tuition price raise. Next semester looks even dimmer; I have six more classes to complete with limited class sizes and overlapping class times.
In May 2009, Collegenews.com said, “The governor is proposing the cuts in an attempt to close the state’s $42.5 billion gap, which is the largest state budget gap in U.S. history.” This large gap has caused California campuses to undergo more budget cuts than any other university system nationwide. Collegenews.com continues, “The budget to support California schools will decrease up to $2.1 billion.”
This means that CSU campuses are being made to cut $584 million for the 2009/2010 academic year among their campuses. Furthermore, the CSU system looks to reduce the student enrollment by 32,000 students.
“The worst is not even over today,” says University of California President Mark G. Yudof during a Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco. (Watch Yodof’s speech on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEoYAuGF9Ug) President Yudof continued to express his regrets that students had to pay more. He then said, “The state has stopped paving freeways to higher education and it has started building toll roads.”
It is understandable to have to pay for an education. However, the fact is that students are now paying more for a lesser-quality education. I paid a lot more money to attend classes infected with furlough days and tense teachers. I’m paying brand name price for the cheaper, generic product.
What can California students do during this time? Make your voices heard! Write letters to your school’s and state officials. Creative solutions are what we need to survive this California education budget crisis. If we all took charge of our education and made our ideas known, things will get better. For example, Alison Stinson, Junior at CSU Northridge says, “I honestly don’t think furlough days are the answer. A better solution would be more days where the entire campus shut down. It would save more in the long run. Furlough days are just an added hassle to the professors and students.”
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