Seniors grapple with CSU, UC budget cutbacks

December 2, 2008 — by Andy Tsao

With the crumbling of the economy and state budget, many seniors are feeling the pinch.

“Some people may be intimidated by the cost of attending private schools,” said senior Kevin Shimizu. “It gets scary when applying to a variety of private colleges costs upwards of $600.”

Even the University of California system is now unable to find sufficient funding to provide an education for its students and has recently announced that it will be offering admission to 10,000 fewer students, starting from the 2008-09 school year. Furthermore, the California State University system has also faced budget cuts and now cannot raise the money needed to support California’s large student population.

“Initially, I felt disbelief at the fact that the government could be cutting funds for institutions of higher education when the demand for such institutions is rising,” said senior Sunil Srivatsa.

Senior Vikram Babu also felt confused after he heard the news.

“I don’t understand why education always seems to be the first thing to be cut when the state is in a budget deficit,” said Babu.

Babu and Srivatsa also feel that this move is extremely shortsighted. They think that some other programs could be neglected without facing huge consequences in the future.

“The government could have reduced funds for something not entirely necessary for society, like public transportation,” said Babu. “Cutting down on education directly limits the potential of the next generation of young minds. I think these students are critical for the success of California.”

As the chance to get into a respected UC campus dwindle, students are now pressured even more to perform well during the first semester of senior year and to write essays that will truly shine.

“Since that the UC system announced the enrollment cut, I’ve been focusing my attention mainly on the UC application,” said Srivatsa. “I’m focusing less on my private colleges now, at least until my UC application is done.”

Babu, however, is also beginning to look at other schools in addition to the UCs in case he is not accepted. In order to prepare for the increased possibilities of rejection, Babu has begun to build for himself a safety net of schools to which he is confident he can be admitted.

“Right now I’m trying to apply to more privates because the budget deficit doesn’t apply to schools that aren’t publicly funded,” said Babu, “and if worst comes to worst, there is always the option of transferring from a community college after two years into a UC.”

Babu, Shimizu and Srivatsa feel that they must meet the rising competition for spots in the California public education program. With UCs and CSUs limiting the number of students they admit and the UC news recently announcing that applications are up more than 7 percent, an equivalent of 10,000 more students, for the 2008-09 school year, they feel that their chances of admission have also taken severe blows.

“I don’t like the fact that the UCs are getting more competitive because it really hurts the chances of many dedicated people,” said Shimizu.

Furthermore, the schools that many students once considered to be safeties are no longer sure bets due to the fewer number of slots available to incoming college freshmen.

“[The new policy] could have a devastating effect on many students who are using CSUs as safety schools,” said Srivatsa. “If they are denied from their top choices, it is no longer certain that their safeties will take them in with open arms.”