UC Berkeley imports students like coal

We live in a knowledge economy. Good jobs require college degrees. So why is UC Berkeley now enrolling nearly one-in-four students from out-of-state? As the SF Chronicle explains , non-residents pay higher tuition. Between budget cuts in Sacramento and institutional self-interest at UC, we are hurting our children and killing the California dream.

I am the father of three young Californians. I’d like them to have the same, if not better, opportunities than me. I graduated Berkeley when its policies were more in tune with the mission of providing a low-cost public education. I supported myself on the GI Bill and part-time work and went from college to marriage debt-free.

Is that possible today?

Lack of access to higher education hurts the economy. As I wrote in one newspaper article,  based ironically on a UC Berkeley study: “two decades ago the United States had the highest college graduation rate of any country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 30 top industrialized nations. Today it ranks 19th.”

It’s not just the college-bound who are getting hurt by the breakdown of any consensus over what state investments are necessary and how to pay for them.

Laid off workers with high school diplomas and new immigrants are suffering from cuts in adult education. We are told that we should be lifelong learners. Should the state not help?

So we drift downward from the California that was once envied, to the state that imports students, like coal, to fuel its universities and high-tech economy. And our children get shortchanged, unless they are the very cream of the crop or have parents who can pay for college, or perhaps both.


About Tom Abate

Tom Abate is a former small-press publisher, businessman and newspaper reporter who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. A Brooklyn native and U.S. Navy veteran, Tom is a UC Berkeley graduate who earned his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. During his career he has worked in public relations, graphic design, typography and business journalism. As a journalist he specialized in science, technology, biotechnology, economics and the business culture of Silicon Valley. He has taught writing through UC Extension and was briefly a junior college instructor. He can work with spreadsheets, presentation software and some multimedia tools. In addition to his paid work, he wrote a blog (MiniMediaGuy.org, 2005-2010) that explored the business models, techniques and practical concerns of new and independent media. He is on the advisory board of the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR.org). The father of three children, Tom loves to garden and build things. His intellectual passions include political theory, globalism and the struggle of the individual against bureaucracy.
This entry was posted in Culture, Thinking Out Loud. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>