UC Berkeley chancellor on tuition policy and PSE disinvestment

March 28, 2012

In an interview with Maclean's, University of California, Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau discusses what he has borrowed from his time as president of the University of Toronto to address Berkeley's budget crisis, such as aggressive investment to generate additional income. Berkeley decided to significantly increase its number of out-of-state and international undergraduate students, who, under California law, must pay the real cost of education. Supporting the California approach, Birgeneau says such a model "can represent a major source of income" for flagship Canadian universities. With appropriate government investment, Birgeneau says, Canada's flagship institutions can compete head on with not just the top universities in the US, but also Cambridge and Oxford. He says there has been a progressive evolution in North American society to view PSE more as a private than a public good. The fact that Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum accused US President Barack Obama of being elitist for thinking that people should get a college education "shows how far we've evolved in a negative direction." Maclean's