Public Business Schools

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The University of California, Los Angeles has proposed privatizing its Anderson School of Management.

According to an article by Larry Gordon in the Los Angeles Times:

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management is seeking to end any reliance on state funds under a controversial proposal that would be the first such shift to self-sufficiency in the cash-strapped UC system and could provide a model for other programs seeking more freedom to increase tuition rates and faculty salaries.

Yea, that’s the problem, explain two UCLA students. Jason Ball and Lincoln Ellis write in an opinion piece in the same newspaper that:

The proposal, already touted as a potential model for other programs, is… disturbing. Anderson Dean Judy Olian describes her plan as “win-win” because it would redirect public funds to departments such as English and math that don’t have the kind of private fundraising prowess Anderson does. There is an appeal to the underlying logic: Why should taxpayers subsidize the education of these wealthy professionals or those who it’s assumed will strike it rich after graduation? Stereotypes of rich professionals should not guide university policy toward students, many of whom are more likely to be seen consuming ramen noodles and Fanta than steak and martinis.

The privatization of UCLA’s Anderson School of Management would increase tuition to some $50,000 a year. It’s currently about $41,000 a year for California residents. Two other state universities, the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia, already have essentially private business schools.

According to Jerry Trapnell, the executive vice president of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which accredits business schools, many public colleges are tired of constantly relying on the whims of state legislatures to manage their annual budgets. Public business schools “want to control their own destiny,” said Trapnell.

But then, potential business students want to control their own finances, too. Surely someone at the Anderson school recognizes that’s also important. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer