Readers React

Put the poll on UC tuition increases in context

To the editor: It is not surprising that the majority of your poll respondents oppose the idea of increasing the University of California system's tuition by as much as 5% annually, the first proposed increase at UC in four years. The university does not like this option, a contingency if other funding does not materialize to increase enrollment and maintain academic quality. ("Voters strongly oppose UC tuition hike, poll finds," Feb. 28)

As such, we are especially concerned that your story and the poll's underlying methodology, to which we were not privy, betray a crucial lack of context. The story states, for example, that poll respondents support Gov. Jerry Brown's call for more efficiency instead of UC President Janet Napolitano's call for increased state funding.

Here are some crucial facts: The state currently funds UC at the level it did in 1997, even though the university today enrolls 75,000 more students. Through efficiencies and cutbacks, the cost of a UC education has actually decreased considerably, even as the state has dramatically cut support.

It is also worth noting the results of last week's Field poll, which cited forecasts of an increasing state budget surplus and asked respondents how they thought such revenue should be spent. Education, including public higher education, topped the list — above roads and transportation, healthcare, law enforcement, prisons and public assistance.

Nathan Brostrom, Oakland

The writer is chief financial officer at the UC office of the president.

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