The trickle down effect on higher education

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By Staff Editorial

By Staff Editorial

We can’t believe that tuition has risen another six bucks a unit. Oh, excuse us we mean student fees, because in California we don’t pay tuition. That’s because community colleges in California used to be free. That’s free, complementary for every resident of California who wanted an education.

Just one of those things that your country did for you, so that when asked what you would do for your country, you would be educated enough to rise to the challenge.

Alas the times they are a changing. We realize that a $6 fee increase may not seem like a lot of money, but when added to last fall’s $7 increase one can easily see that student fees have doubled since last year. That’s one 100 percent increase.

So if you’re taking a full load you will be paying roughly $100 more than you did last spring and $200 more than you paid last year at this time.

We know that California now faces record deficits, and we know that $26 is still a small price to pay for an education especially when state university fees are going up by thousands and not hundreds of dollars.

However, we’re still bothered by the effort of both the state and powerful anti-tax groups here in California to essentially privatize public higher education in the insistence that subsidizing community colleges is taking more money out of the pockets of taxpayers.

Taxpayers who might want to invest in new ventures like opening a new business.

The only problem with this equation is that these potential employers, these hypothetical gatekeepers of free enterprise won’t have anyone qualified to work for them if they don’t invest in their most precious resource; their future employees. Without an educated work force business in California won’t go anywhere.

More importantly we feel that investing in education is part of the price of a civil society. A society that is informed, employable and committed to participation in their government and improving the world needs to have more than just a High School diploma.

The fee hike puts the burden of California’s budget failings on students who aren’t making enough in the first place. Most of Riverside Community College’s students are here so that they will be qualified for higher paying jobs when they get out.

Unfortunately many students don’t have financial aid. This means that students must work longer hours to pay for fewer classes prolonging what used to be two years at a community college.

While we’re paying more, classes are being cut and enrollment at state universities is being capped, effectively locking the door to the American Dream.

Still Gov. Schwarzenegger refuses to raise taxes on those most able to pay their share. The logical thing to do when one is in debt is to pay it off.

That is the responsibility that we citizens can take, despite the fact that we weren’t the ones who got us into this mess.

Let’s lay the brunt of the tax burden on the people who caused this mess big business, who for decades have invested billions conning citizens into voting for deregulations (can you say energy crisis?) lower taxes (mostly for themselves at our expense) and gubernatorial recalls (once again, very expensive).

If the big boys can still fly around in a private jet, then they can afford to exercise some fiscal responsibilities.

Oh sorry, never mind, we forgot fiscal responsibility only applies to those who don’t have any money. We cut coupons and classes so the wealthy can play.

By raising our student fees Schwarzenegger is asking the people with the least money to be the personal sugar daddies to rich businessmen who have already made it.

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