To the editor: The University of California system needs a secure and predictable funding stream. The approved 5% annual tuition increases each of the next five years would meet that need. ("In widely opposed move, UC regents set to hike tuition up to 5% yearly," Nov. 19)
The state funds UC much less than it did even a generation ago. In 1987, for example, the state funded 54% of UC Berkeley's budget. In 2013, the state supplied only 11% of the UC system's budget. This is hardly a "public" university anymore.
The people of California give but a pittance toward the overall the budget of UC, yet taxpayers expect increased student capacity, only modest funding increases and the benefits of maintaining UC's international academic standing — while demanding that the university hold the line on tuition. This is not possible.
If we want a system that can truly be called the University of California, the state must fund it accordingly. Otherwise, the various campuses might find it advantageous to disengage from the state entirely and privatize. UCLA and UC Berkeley would likely fare better.
If that happens, tuition would really increase.
Carter C. Bravmann, Los Angeles
To the editor: In recent statements made by several regents, the UC system is touted as the premier research university in the world.
Sadly, that is true. The UC campuses hire professors and staff based on their research excellence. What it really needs is teaching excellence that will prepare students for the world and life ahead.
During my studies in UCLA's chemistry department, I only had two professors who I could say were teachers and mentors. All the others were focused on their research, and teaching was just something they had to do.
Andrew Ko, San Marino
To the editor: I am a proud graduate of UC Santa Barbara. In hindsight, I should've gone to a community college for my first two years. This way, I would have completed my general education requirements and survey courses at a fraction of the cost. Instead, I graduated with a ton of student loan debt (which I've repaid).
Instead of raising tuition, UC should encourage more students to discover their passion at a community college. (I know Santa Barbara City College has some amazing professors, some of whom are a product of UC Santa Barbara.) If tuition must be increased, do it to the freshmen and sophomores only, which would provide another incentive to attend a community college.
Recruit brilliance. Offer more merit-based scholarships. And these can be offered to students after they've shown at a community college that they are serious about education (trust me, many are not serious about their education).
If tuition continues to climb, college will become only for the wealthy. That would be a shame.
Wendy Henderson, Chatsworth
To the editor: I'm a product of City College of New York, class of 1959, when tuition was free; there's nothing remarkable about this. But fellow alumni include Colin Powell, Andrew Grove (a founder of Intel), Jonas Salk, many Nobel prize winners and other history makers.
Coming from an immigrant family, I would not have been able to attend college had tuition been charged. I suspect the same is true for at least some of my school's distinguished alumni.
The bottom line is this: Every time a public university raises tuition, some poor young person is excluded. What a shame.
Ability without opportunity is nothing.
Karl F. Schmid, Los Angeles