University of California seal
University of California seal - 
Listen To The Story


Kai Ryssdal: Year-end financial results from some of this country's richest colleges and universities are in. And it is not pretty. Overall they were down about 30 percent poorer last year. Harvard's endowment lost $10 billion. Yale gave up $6 billion.

Public universities that depend on state revenues are even worse off. The president of the University of California is recommending a 15 percent tuition increase to fill their budget hole. Joel Rose reports.

Joel Rose: If the fee hike is approved, tuition at University of California schools will top $10,000 for the first time. That hurts students.

RICARDO Vazquez: But it needs to be viewed in the context of other forms of pain.

Spokesman Ricardo Vazquez says UC is already cutting positions and using furloughs to save money.

Vazquez: The academic quality that students and parents expect from UC is being threatened.

Vazquez says the university has no choice but to charge students more as the state loses tax revenue. It's the same story across the country with state schools raising tuition and scaling back financial aid. That's according to University of Pennsylvania education professor, Joni Finney.

Joni Finney: Right now, we're in the worst recession we've seen for 30 years, and what other major industry is raising prices on consumers? We haven't asked the tough questions about restructuring for the long term.

Those include how to improve college readiness in secondary school and whether to beef up teaching loads at research universities.

I'm Joel Rose for Marketplace.