Survey: Californians love public higher ed, but differ on ways to fund it
- A survey of Californians authored by the Public Policy Institute of California shows that a majority of citizens favor state institutions and their work, but differ greatly on the notions of increases in taxes or tuition costs to help them grow, according to the Los Angeles Times.
- Almost 75% of more than 1700 survey takers said that costs were too high and families were blocked from the benefits of college enrollment as a result.
- College officials, who were encouraged by the results of the survey, say that more than 60% of student costs are covered by discounts or scholarships in the University of California System, and that the Cal State System would need about $167 million to cover gaps between anticipated state funding and campus needs for operations and student support.
Californians voted to increase taxes on cigarettes for the first time in 18 years during the most recent election cycle, with higher education as a potential beneficiary. Other states have introduced gaming and other increases for similar support. But what most institutions fall short in doing is public tracking and detailing how additional tax revenues support boosts to the workforce, innovation and individual wealth after receiving the increased subsidies.
College systems do an effective job of producing economic impact reports, but the next phase of public outreach may be specific details on industrial impact. Detailing the number of alumni scientists, educators, mental health professionals, police officers, and other sector influencers who makes states and communities safer, healthier, wealthier and more informed is the way to keep citizenry engaged in understanding the value of higher education, and paying for it.