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Jan 15

Written by: kmurphy
Saturday, January 15, 2011 

Oh the allure of California, with its sunny skies, palm trees and ocean waves.  Each year, California is a popular 'must' on most students wish lists, but most don't realize that it isn't always the best option to pursue.

There are a few things wrong with the state system in California which all came to a head this past week with an announcement from Governor Jerry Brown. Once considered the finest in the nation, the state system is about to face a $1.4 billion budget cut. He has proposed budget cuts that would slash $500 million from 10 UC campuses and will cut 280 positions from UC Berkeley alone. 

What does this mean to you - the out of state applicant?  Things don't look good.  From a value prospective, the system is 'affordable', however with the cuts, you will find that you will get less for your money as professors and programs are cut.  Berkeley has lost five professors from its top-ranked Economics program since 2007 to the likes of Stanford and Princeton.  The quality of instruction undoubtedly changes as class sizes increase. Professors from all areas are citing lack of time to grade essays so they no longer assign them.  And as class size increases, students are pushed out of them, which effects the 4 year graduation rate.

These cuts also mean that competition will be up even further for fewer spots.  It isn't just at UCLA and Berkeley, it is at Cal State Long Beach where the acceptance rate was less than 10% last year.  It is uncertain how the cuts will change how out of state applicants are viewed - with pressure to serve their own students, will the lure of an out of state tuition bill win the battle? 

Finally, in an article this past week Bloomberg asserts that the cuts impact the nation as the state system has long been an incubator for future tech employees that flow to places such as Google and Apple.

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