Last week, I discussed the immense leverage the higher education systems have with regards to pricing. This week I will cover how UC Berkeley is abusing its monopoly power.
The average student has suffered through years of cumulative tuition increases (9-10% annually), cutbacks in services, elimination of necessary classes, and escalation of living fees (food and residence). For example, I have a class that I absolutely need to take before graduation, and I signed up for it in the earliest time possible (sacrificing the slot that could’ve been used for another class) only to see it get cancelled without a single notice; now every substitute for that class is either completely full (including the waiting list) OR conflicts with my schedules. The cause of the cancellation? Budget. Stupid reason, because this is a mandatory class and cancelling it for one semester will only mean that there must be more the next semester.
The ostensible cause is the increasingly restrictive budget, but I don’t believe it. The University assures us that it understands that we’re all in financial hardships: It is giving underqualified minorities full subsidies to try their luck at Berkeley while it is giving the rest of us the middle finger. This favoritism is appalling. It has to stop.
The University is pulling away from its purpose as the institution whose purpose is to educate the public. It is becoming an institution that plunders the middle class to give life support to the poor; it is obviously standing at the wrong side of the balance between fair outcomes and fair mechanisms. It must rediscover its original mission to provide education for the masses, not by sacking the middle class to pay for the poor, but my making it affordable for everyone to get a good education.
If you cannot obtain at least 30000 dollars of long-term value from your education at Berkeley (your break-even point if everyone paid the same tuition), perhaps you need to re-examine what is wrong instead of taking my money anyway. Thanks.