Students at UC Riverside organized as Fix UC have formally proposed their own tuition reform proposal to the University of California Board of Regents. The proposal is called the “UC Student Investment Proposal,” and it calls for free tuition.
Why does this matter?
Well, the Ol’ Dirty Emerald found that, “Without a doubt, the Oregon University System finds itself facing the same conundrum that the California system and countless others are currently experiencing: Keep raising tuition or sacrifice the quality of the education.”
The article quotes ASUO President Ben Eckstein, saying “a movement like this would be absolutely acceptable. I don’t see any reason why we can’t see a ‘Fix OUS’ movement at Oregon.”
Then there’s Diane Saunders, the director of communications for OUS: “The kind of program that Fix UC proposes might stratify who attends your university,” she said. “For those who might have higher incomes, it may be too much to pay in the long run.”
Oh, whoops. You don’t even know what she’s talking about. I forgot to explain how exactly Fix UC’s proposal works! Well I’ve taken a few answers from Fix UC’s FAQ page for some elucidation on their whole “free tuition” thing:
1. Wait, so like. Why is it called UC Student Investment Proposal? I thought this had to do with like, tuition and shit.
Fix UC: Under the proposal, the University of California would invest in its students to attend the university with no up-front costs, with the expectation that they will graduate and financially contribute once they enter a career.
This “investment” would be the University of California collecting %5 of their students’ income for 20 years after graduation.
Oh and let me remind you: In Oregon, if your income range is over $7,601, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is %9, with a top rate of 11% kicking in at an income level of $250,000.
So just imagine, if the OUS were to adopt this, you’d be sending away %14 of the fruits of your labor until you were forty or so.
That’s right, now read the next question.
2. Hey, hold on. My dad’s fucking loaded, so I don’t want to pay like that. Can’t I just like, pay the tuition up front like we do now under this proposal?
Fix UC: No. An option to pay an up front fee would run contrary to one of the core concepts behind the proposal.Graduates of the UC will maintain a connection with their university not just for the time they spend there, but for a lifetime. A UC education is not a product, and its value is a complex one. The proposal requires a rethinking of the role of education in people’s lives, not simply as a product in the form of a degree…
This may just be the History major talkin’, but this sounds a lot like a little thing called indentured servitude. You know, that labor system prevalent in Colonial America during the 17th century, where poor immigrants would sign contracts committing several years-worth of their labor and wages in return for free ship fare..
Like indentured servitude, Fix UC’s proposal seems kind of, I don’t know, binding maybe. The “%5 of your income” isn’t like a loan you can simply pay off once you have the money. It’s a tax. It’s a fee that rises as your income rises. AND IT DOES NOT GO AWAY.
What if you graduate and and end up working at Best Buy for 20 years?
What if you graduate and become extremely successful?
Or even worse yet, what if you graduate and become exponentially more successful each year, for 20 years, like most people?
When asked about his thoughts on Fix UC’s proposal, University of California president Mark Yudof told NPR, “In its current form, frankly, it’s unworkable.” Yudof did say, however, that he was “impressed” when students presented the idea at a recent meeting of the UC Board of Regents, and that his “best number crunchers” are reviewing the plan.
Like Yudof, the Oregon Commentator is admittedly impressed as well. Why? Well, simply because Fix UC emerged out of the staff of a student publication, just like us!
On Fix UC’s About page, it cites “after publishing editorial after editorial on the subject of the budget cuts and their impact on students, the editorial board of the Highlander newspaper at UC Riverside began developing an out-of-the-box, long-term solution for the University of California that addresses its most fundamental shortcomings.”
It’s true. Chris LoCascio, President of Fix UC, is also the Editor-In-Chief of UC Riverside’s newspaper, the Highlander.
Now I can’t say that our own Editor-In-Chief, Sophie Lawhead, will ever write a highly-debatable tuition proposal for a public university system in her spare time. But I will tell you that she will never let herself become editor of anything called the Highlander. I also cannot say that us on the OC editorial board will ever collectively develop some “long term solutions” to any “fundamental shortcomings.” In fact, I can personally attest that that will never happen. But please know, we want lower tuition too. We all do. And if we had to write a tuition reform proposal, it would look a little like this:
The Oregon Commentator’s OUS Tuition Reform Proposal:
1. Cut out some of that Oregon University System bureaucracy.
2. Cut out some of that mother fuckin’ Oregon University System bureaucracy!