In the last issue, I described how the Haas School has begun to develop a business plan to make sure it can flourish in a changing funding environment. The school has been impacted by California 's budget problems, which have forced significant tuition increases and budget reductions on the whole University of California system.
Our state funding has now fallen to about 31% of our total income, and it will fall again. Our plan includes transforming the current state-subsidized Full-Time MBA Program into a self-supporting one. Although we don't have final numbers yet, tuition for this program will be increased by about $5,500 this year. By moving to market rates over a few years, the school will be able to fund improvements to the program, such as hiring additional faculty. These funding changes will also help us build a more stable financial base. We will be able to target financial aid to students in need – truly addressing the issue of access.
The Evening & Weekend and Berkeley-Columbia MBA programs do pay their own way and enroll excellent students. We're confident on the basis of this evidence that moving to financial self-sufficiency in the Full-time program will not diminish the quality of our students, but will enhance the quality of what we can deliver to them.
While these changes make sense for our Full-Time MBA Program, I am convinced that the school must advocate a continuing state subsidy for our undergraduate business program.
Our undergraduate business program is as old as the school itself, having been founded in 1898. It is a highly competitive, two-year program that accepts applications from continuing UC Berkeley students and transfer students, mostly from California 's community colleges. They are among the most outstanding undergraduate students at Berkeley – and that is saying a lot, since the competition for admission to Cal is fierce. Getting admitted to the Haas program is even more challenging – only 23% of all applicants make it in.
The Haas Undergraduate Program was ranked #3 in the country last year by US News and World Report – and has consistently been in the top 4 for more than a decade.
One of my most pleasant surprises since becoming dean has been discovering how the undergraduate program still serves as a fantastic gateway to opportunity for the young men and women of California . Our undergraduates, nearly all Californians, are eager to enter the American free enterprise system. Moreover, they are often the first in their families to attend college, are children of recent immigrants, or come from non-English speaking households. Some are from single-parent families and low-income households. Some have faced other serious obstacles in their upbringing. Attending the Haas School enables them to break through economic and other barriers, and gives them access to top-tier career choices, including jobs at investment banks and consulting firms.
And the school offers enough courses to qualify an undergrad for the CPA exam upon graduation – a hugely valuable ticket to an important profession and to the ranks of middle and upper income.
Every parent in California , no matter how low in income, can realistically aspire that his or her child can, through hard work and native intelligence, get into Berkeley , get a world-class college education in business, and, within a single generation, achieve the California Dream. That is worth a state subsidy.
I close with a renewed expression of commitment to our school's vision: To do world class academic research on business issues; and to see our students acquire the skills to create opportunity in today's business world, and the values to share what they have created.
Bank of America Dean
Professor of Business
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