In 1960, California passed a master-plan for higher education that put the state at the leading edge of the nation’s public colleges and universities. Without that vision, inventions like the Internet never may have come into American homes.
But after a year of implementing layoffs, staff furloughs, tuition increases, enrollment freezes and cuts to deal with 2009’s state budget crisis, officials at the Tri-Counties’ public universities are hoping that California’s plan for higher education doesn’t die at 50 in 2010.
The University of California, Santa Barbara — a co-birthplace of the Internet gearing up for the same 32 percent tuition increase as the rest of the UC system — had a $52 million deficit going into to 2009-10. Gene Lucas, executive vice chancellor at UCSB, said the school has seen “a demoralized faculty and staff and an angry student body. California is failing to invest in its future, and the return on that lack of investment is going to be ugly,” Lucas said in an e-mail.