By The Lowell
Oct. 1, 2003
Don't count on receiving an acceptance letter to a University of California or California State University this coming year.
In January, UC regents will shut out more than 1,600 winter-term transfers and freshman applicants due to state budget cuts. Furthermore, Gov. Gray Davis has told the universities to plan for another projected 20 percent cut. In 2005, an additional 100,000 more applicants could be denied admission.
By shutting out many eligible applicants and possibly denying admission to applicants, the UC system is deferring the dreams of students who have worked diligently to continue their education.
Major growth in enrollment to UC and CSU in 1960, along with rising costs of California taxpayers led former Occidental College president Arthur Coons to head a survey team, which developed a Master Plan for Higher Education in California. The state then pledged to guarantee a spot in the UC system to all community college students who successfully completed lower division requirements.
In January, these students will have few options. Some who were planning to transfer will stay in the community colleges, enrolling in classes when they need no additional credits and limiting the space available to incoming high school graduates who wish to attend. Others will leave school entirely. The decision will hurt minority and low-income students.
Counselor Joan Catelli feels that many students have been "duped." "Students had dreams of going to UC and worked so hard to be eligible," Catelli said.
Each year approximately 46.1 percent of Lowell students attend a UC school and 17.5 percent attend the two-year transfer program offered at community colleges, according to the 2001-2002 Lowell High School Student Profile. The UC regents' actions will have a detrimental effect on these students. Not only is the UC system breaking its promise, its decision to limit space will create even more stress for students since the system is already very competitive.
Department chairman of the Transfer Center at City College of San Francisco Carl Jew said that "it is painful and unfair to students who apply and have their applications turned down."
"The UC system is deferring the dreams of students who have worked diligently to continue their education."
In 2001, UC's enrollment increased by 18 percent; however, state funds had fallen 13.6 percent, according to a Sept. 4, 2003 article in the San Francisco Chronicle. As a result, the University of California may further reduce its enrollment by at least 5,000, and more students may need to attend a CSU or a community college. However, spaces at CSU and community colleges are no longer guaranteed because of the lack of funds for opening classes. CCSF has already eliminated 100 classes and reduced summer school by 50 percent, according to Jew.|
Instead of supporting education, the state has funneled enormous sums of money into the recall election for governor. Because California ranks as one of the lowest states in education nationwide, addressing this problem should be of greater concern. By crushing students' dreams, the state has essentially shut out many promising students who have the potential to make positive contributions to society as a whole. "Education should be a first priority," junior Soe Maw said. "It is not the students' fault about the budget cuts; we should not be punished."
With a faltering economy, it is even more critical that intelligent and innovative students earn degrees to survive the tight job market. Knowledgeable students have the potential to improve the economy.
"Education ultimately is what makes the economy run," San Francisco State Univerisity English lecturer and Lowell English teacher Svein Arber said. "Politicians have their priorities all wrong."
United Educators of San Francisco president Dennis Kelly said that he feels remorse for anyone in the educational community suffering from these budget cuts. "Why don't you ask the corporate pirates who sabotaged our electrical system and then profited from the distress they caused us about the funding of schools?" Kelly said. "Their manipulation of our economy started a lot of the slide in revenue we are experiencing."
The state must provide funds for UC schools to fulfill their mandate for the next generation.