UC-Berkeley Plans Major Budget Overhaul to Deal With Deficit


The University of California - Berkeley is planning a full overhaul of its budget in the face of a massive deficit.

According to The Los Angeles Times, UC - Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks announced the top-to-bottom budget review in a letter to the campus community. Dirks said the prestigious public research school has been forced to deal with a "new normal" that entails waning state support.

"We are fighting to maintain our excellence against those who might equate 'public' with mediocrity, against those who have lost faith in the need for higher education to serve as an engine of social mobility," he wrote. "What we are engaged in here is a fundamental defense of the concept of the public university, a concept that we must reinvent in order to preserve."

Janet Napolitano, the UC system's president, has long been advocating for more state funding for the 10 campuses, while Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown has been hesitant to oblige. Last March the two struck a deal for more state funding in exchange for a freeze on in-state tuition, though not on out-of-state tuition, The New York Times reported.

UC - Berkeley's $150 deficit is six percent of its operation budget, The Washington Post reported. The planned overhaul is expected to have major implications on the very aspects that make the school what it is: arguably the best school in one of the nation's top public university systems.

The UC system has increased its out-of-state tuition to $38,139, which is three times greater than in-state tuition. Even still, the school is not enrolling California residents and freshman enrollment of in-state students has fallen from 90 percent in 2004 to 69 percent in 2014.

"We must focus not only on the immediate challenge, but also on the deeper task of enhancing our institution's long-term sustainability and self-reliance," Dirks wrote. "This is a moment not just to stabilize our finances, but also to consider our future as a leading institution of higher education."  

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