Re "End Free Ride at Universities," by Bruce Thompson, Voices, Jan. 11: Charging a "market rate" for University of California and California State University tuition based on the family's annual income is an idea without merit. It ignores the fact that state income tax owed and paid increases as income increases. A portion of that tax goes to education. It is not beyond reason to say that the families of some students attending UC have paid well above the "market rate" for tuition. It is also probable that childless wealthy couples and individuals always pay above market rate.
The tuition systems at UC and CSU are fair and reasonable for the student and the taxpayer. Each resident student pays the same amount per unit taken, and each taxpayer supports higher education based on income earned. Students can cover tuition by receiving scholarships, grants and loans. Students also can work to earn tuition money, sometimes at jobs on campus expressly tailored for them. Top-ranked students from well-to-do families do not go to the "premier" UC campuses because they are cheaper than private schools. They go because of the superior educational opportunities and the leverage it will have on their careers.
It was interesting to note that Thompson has a child paying out-of-state tuition, as I once did for eight quarters. It never bothered me to sit next to someone who paid much less for the class, as I understood that his or her parents had paid a great deal of state taxes over the years to support the university.
The cure for Thompson's angst is quite straightforward and has a great tax benefit. He can simply write a check for the full real cost of his child's tuition and donate it to the school.