In 1990, 17 percent of the California State budget was spent on higher education, with 3 percent going to prisons. Now the split is 10 percent for prisons, 9 percent for higher education. (Source.)
One of America’s huge advantages in global competition is an ability to attract the very smartest young people. They come from all over the world to attend the world’s finest Universities–located in the U.S. About half stay in the U.S. after completing their University education. This brain-drain of the best and brightest into the U.S. is an imbalance tilted heavily in America’s favor.
These highly intelligent American-educated emigrants start a disproportionately large number of successful new businesses, businesses such as Google, businesses that employ thousands and thousands of Americans.
But America’s ability to attract the world’s best and the brightest depends on America’s ability to maintain the best Universities in the world.
Sadly, politicians are short-shortsightedly doing their best to gut the U.S. University system. Hollowing out of Americas’ Universities is now accelerating. The buildings still stand but programs, faculty, and capacity are being de-funded. For example,
- California Universities are undergoing more budget cuts than any other university system nationwide. (Source.) The CSU [California State University will] decrease 2009-10 enrollment by 40,000 students, compared to its 2008-09 enrollment, and since record numbers of students are applying, there will be tens of thousands of disappointed qualified students. (Source.)
- Cal Poly Pomona has announced that it will soon be eliminating between 20 to 30 departments and programs. (Source.)
- Harvard, Princeton, Chicago, MIT, Northwestern, Emory and Columbia Universities — announced plans to shrink the enrollment of new Ph.D. students this fall. Now it appears that a number of other universities, generally private institutions that have some of the most well regarded Ph.D. programs around, are also getting smaller. (Source.)
- Southern Illinois University says Illinois has failed to make its monthly payments to the SIU system since July. Those payments totaled $115 million as of Nov. 1. Officials with the Illinois Board of Higher Education say other Illinois universities face similar funding issues. (Source.)
- Arizona’s three state universities are considering making drastic budget cuts, including shutting down campuses and eliminating degree programs, as the colleges face a 30-percent reduction in state aid — a projected loss of more than $300 million for all three public universities. (Source.)
- UC President Mark Yudof made in a Sept. 24 interview with The New York Times Magazine. “Being president of the University of California is like being manager of a cemetery.” (Source.)