The following is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called The Town I Live In.
Before he was president, Ronald Reagan was governor of California. As governor, he made severe cuts to higher education and began charging tuition at public colleges, which before then had been tuition-free. In light of recent debates about tuition hikes at CSU schools, it's important to remember that these schools used to be tuition free. Thanks to Ronald Reagan, tuition and fees have steadily increased, making college education slowly less obtainable. Here's a student editorial from a 1967 issue of the Titan Times, the Cal State Fullerton student newspaper:
The Case Against Tuition
CSF students have had their first glimpse of California's 1967 Late Show, the ill-named "Creative Society," and as one legislator bitterly observed, it may be more accurately described as the first act of the "Illiterate Society."
Recently Gov. Reagan suggested that tuition be levied on all students of the state colleges and university to ease what he terms "the heavy financial deficit." The imposition of tuition, however, would strike at California's greatest natural resource, the college student. The state has provided a tuition free system of higher education for nearly a century, and its positive results are readily apparent with the locating of business and industry in California to tap the available resource of talent and minds.
Currently, any student has the opportunity of obtaining the nation's finest college education. A tuition charge adds, not relieves, an economic burden. Many students, already saddled with part-time employment and family support, will be left out in the academic cold.
This years's plan calls for a $200 charge at CSF, but next year higher fees could be used as a means of easing the governor's future financial crises. In short, Gov. Reagan is pressing a group least able to pay, the students, to save the state from deficit. When education becomes the victim, it should rather be the duty of the chief executive to search elsewhere for fiscal salvation.
Source: The Daily Titan Archives