Conventional wisdom says the UC and CSU funding crises are the inevitable result of recession-driven budget shortfalls, and the only solution is to soak students and their families.
But it's bunk. Shifting costs from the public to students is a deliberate act of public policy.
Well before the recession, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the UC and CSU presidents signed the Higher Education Compact. UC and CSU accepted huge cuts in state support and agreed to rapid annual tuition increases in exchange for a broken promise of future financial support.
And, though a Democrat, Jerry Brown is accelerating the transformation of higher education from a public good the people of California provide for the benefit of all to a private good students buy.
This is a radical reversal of the spirit that built California. But what's been done can be undone.