UC Regent Chairman: More Funding Needed to Keep the UC ‘Highest Rated in the World'

The head of the University of California’s governing body is defending the operations of the 10-campus system, pushing back against Gov. Jerry Brown's call for the university to reduce its "cost structures."

George Keiffer, the Chairman of the University of California Board of Regents, says independent analysts have assessed the management of the university and indicate it's among the best run in the nation.

"From a nationally recognized organization that's looked at 500 different universities over time to look at their efficiencies, how they are run, their conclusion was that we were as well run as any institution in the country, public or private," Keiffer said Sunday on NBC 4 Los Angeles.

Keiffer would not release specifics of the survey, saying it was reported in closed session due to its impact on personnel matters.

The Board of Regents last week decided to postpone a 2.7 percent tuition hike until May after receiving a letter from Brown calling for them to reject the tuition hike. Brown said the University needed to "reduce the system's cost structures" in an effort to keep from forcing students to carry more of the burden for their education.

The Governor had proposed an increase in state spending to the UC system by 3 percent in next year's budget, but Keiffer says that isn't enough to account for inflation. That's because the state finances less than half of the University's budget.

"We lose to inflation every year, no matter what if that's all there is ... unless you keep up with the costs in some way ... you are going to lose the value of an educational system that is considered the best run in the country, the highest rated in the country and probably the highest rated in the world."

The UC administration says that any tuition hike would impact less than half of the student body. Nearly 55 percent of all students don't pay any tuition.

Keiffer does admit that the UC system has lost public support, in part due to an audit of UC President Janet Napolitano last April which turned up a $175 million private fund. While he claims that the fund was not secretive and that the board was aware of it, "we made a mistake as a board. We had not budgeted those projects properly ... we have some work to do with the legislature in particular in terms of credibility."

But Keiffer believes declining public support for the UC system is part of a national trend.

"All of higher education today is under scrutiny," he said. "It's not just the University of California, it's not just CSU, its universities across the country. Public universities have lost public support."

Also appearing on NBC 4 Los Angeles' "News Conference"program was Los Angeles congresswoman Maxine Waters who says she will not attend Tuesday's "State of the Union address."

Waters expressed support for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to become the next House Speaker if Democrats win a majority this election season.

She also declined to support fellow Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein who is facing a primary challenge by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin DeLeon.

"This will make for a good debate," Waters said on the program while indicating she has not yet decided on whom she will endorse.

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