Letters to the Editor: UC and CSU costs go up, but Californians are still extremely lucky

Students walk past the Walter Pyramid at Cal State Long Beach in March 2020.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Thanks to Nicholas Goldberg for his column “Will California honor its 150-year-old promise to keep UC affordable?

As a single mom in 2007, I did my own cost-benefit analysis and decided that I could afford tuition at California State University campuses.

One son went to Cal Poly Pomona and was hired by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The other son graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and works at a major publisher. My younger son complained he couldn’t get interviews at Google and other prominent employers because he didn’t go to a more prestigious university, where his friends who got hired by Google went.


Both sons had an excellent education without incurring debt. I am a product of the California community college system and UC Irvine. As an adult, I continue to take courses at our excellent community colleges.

The level of instruction at both our very affordable community colleges and state universities is as good (or better!) than that of most expensive universities in the country. We Californians thankfully have options.

Laura Jaoui, Claremont


To the editor: Goldberg’s column failed to present the situation in its historical context.

When I joined the UC faculty in 1979, we received almost 80% of our core funding for academics from the state. At the time I retired in 2005, this had been reduced to about 60%. Now it is less than half.

The blame lies squarely on decisions made by recent state governors and our Legislature.


Dana Sutton, Corona


To the editor: The present UC tuition system is self-defeating. The old adage that the road to hell is paved with good intentions applies here.

Goldberg points out that students whose household income is below $80,000 pay no tuition. The current median household income in California is just over $80,000. Thus, children from half of all households pay no tuition, while those from the other half pay.

In contrast, President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted there be no means test on Social Security so all workers would be invested in its protection. Today, only half of all California households view UC as affordable, and the other half pay both taxes and tuition for their children to attend.

Cut tuition in half, apply it to all, use grants based on need, and get all California households invested in protecting UC affordability.

Norman Rodewald, Moorpark


To the editor: A very large part of the problem is the dramatic increase in administrators hired by the UC system.

I went to UC San Diego in the late 1970s, and it cost $750 per year. Last year my child received a UCLA master’s degree, and it cost about $15,000 annually (in spite of the pandemic, and virtual classes are not good for music performance students).

No one can tell me that the quality of education has increased 20 times in 50 years. What do all these administrators actually do? They don’t teach, that’s for sure.

In fact, in 2015 The Times reported on this very issue in the article “Is UC spending too little on teaching, too much on administration?

Tim Jones, La Crescenta