U. of California Doesn’t Squeeze Needy Students

To the Editor:

“Public Colleges’ Quest for Revenue and Prestige Squeezes Needy Students” (The Chronicle, September 11) inaccurately generalizes financial-aid trends in public higher education and does not reflect those at the nation’s largest public research-university system, the University of California.

Increases in need-based grants for low-income UC students have fully covered recent tuition increases and provided these students with more, not less, aid. The increase helps to offset other costs such as housing, books, and health insurance. The boost in aid reflects UC’s steadfast commitment to set aside a significant portion of tuition revenue for need-based grants, along with California’s continued support of the Cal Grant program—the largest need-based state grant program in the country.

Our Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan ensures that students with annual family incomes up to $80,000 will have their system-wide tuition and fees covered through a combination of federal Pell Grants, Cal Grants, and UC grants and scholarships. Because of this program, one-half of our undergraduates pay no tuition or fees, while another 19 percent have such costs partially covered.

Sustained focus on need-based aid is not only important but achievable, as UC, the California State University, and the State of California have demonstrated.

David Alcocer
Interim Director
Student Financial Support
Office of the President
University of California
Oakland, Calif.

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