UC, CSU should avoid fee hikes

The voters of California spoke last week about supporting education by passing Proposition 30. The residents of this state decided to tax themselves in order to prevent deep cuts to K-12 and higher education in the state.

So it was a slap in the face when the boards that oversee the University of California and California State University systems scheduled votes on future fee increases. Gov. Jerry Brown rightly persuaded both bodies that their votes — CSU’s was scheduled for Tuesday and UC’s for today — should be delayed.

The governor was right to tell the bodies that they need to find other ways to get their financial houses in order without continually turning to fee increases for students.

In the case of the CSU system, the fee increase would have been on so-called superseniors — those students who have more than enough credits to have graduated. The underlying idea is that these students are lingering too long in college without graduating. But there are many reasons why students might acquire an abundance of credits, including switching majors. The college system should not be an assembly line process that cranks out diploma-toting people in the quickest manner possible.

Meanwhile, the UC system’s proposal would have hiked fees by up to 35 percent on certain degree programs, many of which are popular. Students should not have to pay more just because they pick a degree likely to pay more once they graduate.

California’s university systems have fallen into a cut-programs-and-have-students-pay-more mentality. It is time for the heads of these institutions to get creative about financing. They are supposed to be some of the most educated people in the state. Surely they can come up with a few innovative ideas to keep their costs in line.

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