Two years ago, the University of California system changed the way it distributes state funds and tuition revenue to the campuses. In the past, all tuition dollars and state dollars were sent to the Office of the President and redistributed according to unknown formulas. 

After a state audit showed that some campuses were being hurt by this process, the UC decided to let the campuses keep their own tuition dollars, and state dollars were redistributed through a method called “rebenching” to help out historically underfunded campuses. New statistics, however, show that the problems have only gotten worse.

Non-resident student tuition is actually generating more income than the rebenching. This is easily calculated by knowing the number of non-resident students in the most recent available enrollment statistics. Multiplying that number of students by $26,000 shows how much extra tuition each campus will generate next year (each non-resident student pays an additional $23,000, and they do not receive tuition discounts, which average 30 percent for in-state students). Add to that the amount of funds each campus will get this year through rebenching.

Comparing this total to the amount the state auditor said each campus was overfunded or underfunded in 2009-10 (before the system rebenching) brings the campus funding inequity into focus. This data also gives a general sense of the funding distribution before and after the influx of non-resident tuition.

In most cases, the new system is making things much worse for the historically underfunded campuses.

As the state auditor argued, the historically underfunded campuses are the ones with the highest level of under-represented minority students. Even though these students have paid increasing tuition, their campuses remain underfunded.

The UC system needs to rethink its enrollment and funding model and move to a transparent revenue sharing model for non-resident tuition — changes for which UC-AFT will be advocating. 

— Bob Samuels is president of UC-AFT