Archive for January 3, 2012

Public Higher Education Funding

January 3, 2012 Leave a comment

You are probably familiar with some of the animations the Taiwanese news organization Next Media Animation ( creates in which various news stories are re-enacted. I first learned about their work two years ago, thanks to their video that provided two interpretations of what happened in the post-Thanksgiving early morning hours when Tiger Woods drove his Cadillac Escalade into a tree. Did his then-wife Elin Nordegren use a golf club to free him, or did she find another use for the club? See the classic NMA video below for an answer.

Today I bring you their latest video, which you’ll find at the top. (Hat tip: Jim Fallows.) As they explain in the accompanying on-line article:

Funding for University of California schools has been slashed in recent years, and UC schools are looking to students to make up the difference. This means cutting spots reserved for California students in favor of out-of-state or international students, who pay full tuition.

The University of California, San Diego, for example, will be accepting 500 fewer in-state students this year. Some of these slots will be filled by students from China. The number of Chinese students at UCSD increased 12-fold from 2009 to 2011 to almost 200, while the number of Asian-American Californians enrolled fell 29 percent to 1,230. UC San Diego tuition is $13,234 for California residents and $22,878 for non-residents.

Although an American education is expensive, students return to China with a prestigious degree and a broadened outlook. American universities in turn get a welcome injection in funds, at the expense of tax-paying residents.

This approach to funding higher education has been a big issue here in Washington State as well. My own school, the University of Washington, has followed the same strategy in response to a 50% cut in state support over the last few years, increasing tuition steeply while recruiting more out-of-state and out-of-country students who pay higher tuition. We have also made an effort to maintain in-state freshman admissions at the same level, which of course can only be done by increasing enrollment overall.

Since tuition increases haven’t been enough to make up for state budget cuts, the university budget has been cut in part by shrinking the size of the faculty. Decreasing faculty size while increasing student enrollment is hardly an ideal recipe for maintaining educational quality.

But that’s another story. I don’t want to write a long post about public higher education. We do what we can. I just want to point to NMA’s take on the matter, which looks right to me.

Categories: Education, Journalism