The stress from the continuous reduction in state funding over the last decade has finally come to the University of California’s flagship campus, Cal Berkeley. The Washington Post reported on April 13:
a workforce reduction of about 6 percent that comes as the prestigious public flagship is moving to erase a large budget deficit.
In February, [Chancellor Nicolas] Dirks had warned “painful” measures were needed to deal with a “substantial and growing” budget deficit.
Berkeley officials said at the time that the school’s expenses were projected to exceed revenue this year [2015-16] by about $150 million, or 6 percent of its operating budget.
Chancellor Dirks provided further details, stating:
The staff cuts announced this week would not affect faculty.
Regardless, Cal Berkeley’s current 27,496 undergraduate students and 10,768 graduate students may feel the affects.
However, even with the reduction in staff, the cost savings does not match Cal’s budget deficit, $150 Million, for the current 2015-16 school year.
The reduction was expected to yield savings of about $50 million a year.
Yet, despite the imminent changes, UC Berkeley continues receiving record numbers of applications—101,655 for Fall 2016 alone. Applicants seem unaware of Cal’s budgetary pressures and the potential consequences for their college education. Although,
[Chancellor] Dirks warned that more needs to be done, through academic realignment, philanthropic fund-raising and other measures. He said there are “hard decisions ahead of us that we need to make as a community – but we are making significant progress.”
Future Cal students would be prudent to ask: How will the annual budget shortfalls possibly affect the value of their Berkeley education?