US: University of California's Commission on the Future

With California's public university system shackled to a shrinking budget, a group of chancellors, students and others considers ideas - from banal to radical - to keep quality up and costs down, writes Larry Gordon for the Los Angeles Times.

Why not abolish student fees at the University of California? And in exchange, how about requiring graduates to pay the university a percentage of their income for a while after college? That may sound outlandish at a time when the university is substantially hiking student fees and the state budget crisis has left the 10-campus system strapped for cash. But that's precisely why UC Berkeley public policy professor Robert Reich raised the idea to a commission trying to chart the university's course into the future.

It remains to be seen how seriously leaders will examine Reich's proposal, under which more highly paid alumni would, in effect, subsidise others. But it is among the far-reaching, even radical ideas receiving at least a hearing from the university's Commission on the Future, a panel that is studying ways to maintain the university's excellence yet make it more efficient and affordable in an era of shrinking state revenue. Board of Regents Chairman Russell Gould established the 26-member panel last summer and says it is open to all constructive proposals.
Full report on the Los Angeles Times site