CSU exploring two-tier tuition system

April 9, 2012

California State University officials are considering a two-tiered tuition system with privatized classes running about double the cost of state subsidized classes. [CaliforniaWatch]

In 2010, officials began exploring whether they could offer more remediation classes and high-demand “bottleneck” classes through Extended Education – a self-supporting program that provides online and face-to-face CSU classes to students without the university admissions process, California Watch said.

At Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, the university has seen a steady decrease in state revenue and has had to cut thousands of courses and reduce faculty and staff, students already have turned increasingly to Extended Education for the higher-priced classes, data shows.

From 2006 to 2010, the number of students who were enrolled in Extended Education classes at Cal Poly grew from 92 to 1,088.

In their 2010 presentation to the CSU Board of Trustees, Executive Vice Chancellor Ephraim Smith and State University Dean of Extended Education Sheila Thomas said that by offering English and math remediation, bottleneck courses, and other classes through Extended Education, the CSU could meet its academic mission while “freeing up resources on the state support side that could be re-deployed to critical areas.”

Because the program operates without state subsidies, Extended Education offers classes cost more than the standard CSU fare, and students can’t use Cal Grants or CSU State University Grants to help pay for them.

“For many students, it is the access to these programs – both at the CSU and at private or for-profit institutions – that can outweigh the higher cost,” the report said. “In these challenging fiscal times it is critical to review potential avenues of expansion for Extended Education to meet the needs of CSU students and working professionals.”

However, opponents of the two-tier system contend the recent vote by students at Cal Poly to increase fees by $260 per quarter in order to increase access to classes  should provide the classes needed without a two-tier system.

Another opponent of the program, The California Faculty Association, has criticized CSU officials’ move toward expanding Extended Education, describing it as a “for-profitization” of the university.

“The price of doing that is to profoundly change the mission of these institutions, to have them begin to resemble more and more for-profit entities, where money talks and if you have the money, you’re in,” said Susan Meisenhelder, professor emeritus of English at CSU San Bernardino and former president of the faculty association to California Watch.

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The kids at Poly are being screwed. Higher state fees, administrators convincing them to vote to raise their own fees, and more and more classes turned over to the for-profit Extended Ed operation. Most special programs (like internships) are suddenly extended ed, as is summer school. The same course ends up having vastly different prices for different students. Will be interesting to see how this plays out, but surely not like envisioned in the CA Masterplan for Higher Ed.

Anyone who knows what’s really going on at Cal Poly could write endlessly about the path Cal Poly is taking. All this is led by an admin that bloats their ranks and salaries, at the same time as denying raises in teacher salaries. They feel they need to increase admin salaries to attract the best administrators, buy fail to apply the same logic to the teachers. And of course, the excesses are funded through convincing students that they need to pay more money. In the end, the admin and “Foundation” have the world convinced that Cal Poly is an institution of higher learning and that everything they do is for the benefit of the students.

Cal Poly is nothing more than a business; decisions are made to promote the business and not to improve the quality of education or the access to that education. The Cal Poly admin is leveraging the current budget issues to make the school into something that strays quite far from the original mission of the school. It’s all greed and arrogance; it’s very sad.

What’s wrong with being a business? If Cal Poly were in the private sector, then there would be no silly debate about “utopian” issues. They would simply go about their work of offering their services to their customers, the same as everyone else.

What’s all this fuss about a “societal mission”? Nonsense! All education needs is a free market. That will sort out the real deals from the pretenders.

I do agree with you about one thing, jimmy_me; their motives. Greed and arrogance are indeed big factors.

This is one step closer to privatizing them, the only long-term solution to the problem.

Another less expensive option for remedial English and math classes is California’s wonderful network of community colleges. Students who need bonehead English and math should be required to pass them at a CC before matriculating at the UCs and CSUs. Or, these students could just take more English and math in high school, where they should learn these subjects in the first place.

I wonder how many unqualified and unmotivated students would never get into UCs and CSUs if they didn’t offer remedial classes?

Junior colleges are having many of the same problems.

From the story:

“The price of doing that is to profoundly change the mission of these institutions, to have them begin to resemble more and more for-profit entities, where money talks and if you have the money, you’re in,” said Susan Meisenhelder, professor emeritus of English at CSU San Bernardino and former president of the faculty association to California Watch.

The CA State Higher Education System has lost its way. It was set up to provide higher education to CA residents. Over the years it has morphed into an Ivory Tower Complex with the directors, chancellors, university presidents, etc. all having visions of grandier as they build their Taj Mahals to justify their outrageous salaries all at the expense of the California students and citizens of the state of CA.

Like many other proplems in CA it looks like it will up to the Citizens of CA to fix this problem through the referandum process rather than by the CA Legislator recognizing the problem and fixing it legislativly.



In his 7/15 e-mail to the CSULB campus community, President F. King

Alexander conceded what many have suspected all along, that

Administrative consolidation can be implemented to cover the deficit.

We thank President Alexander for his candor and leadership,

because the herein writers and researchers — Professors at

CSULB — have pored through the budgets and financial records

of CSULB and the CSU and conclude that the Administration

component of the University can be consolidated to cover the

University’s total budget reduction without compromising the

University’s teaching mission at all.

Here are the facts and figures at CSULB, but these numbers also apply

across the entire CSU System:

1. 30% of the University’s total operating costs goes to Administration

(executive and management employees and their costs), while 45%

goes to Teaching (Instructors and their costs). (The remaining 25%

goes to physical plant operations, student scholarships, auxiliary

enterprise expenses, and depreciation.)

2. As between cumulative Administrative salaries and cumulative

Teaching salaries, 43% goes to Administration and 57% to


3. Cost of benefits to Administration employees is 20% higher than

the cost of benefits for Instructors.

Interesting, thanks very much for the analysis.

But if the private sector provided these services, you would not have to worry about all this complicated analysis. All the customers would have to do is judge them by their normal, typical scale of values which we call “marginal utility.”

Structure, which is a better definition of economics?:

1. the accumulation of data in service of the state.

2. the science of individual choice/

None of the above:

1. Economics can serve any interest, and is made to do so on a regular basis.

2. It isn’t a science (it lacks the predictive power of hard sciences like physics). Many economists do study individual choices however.

Not sure why you’re oversimplifying things. Sometimes public solutions offer advantages. Sometimes private ownership works better. All depends on what one wants and where they stand in relation to the proposed changes.

Myself, I’m for the Danish, Swedish, German, Japanese models rather than the Somali, Singapore, Mexico ones. but others may feel differently.