Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cal State Threatens Students: "Vote for Taxes or Else"

Cal State plans to send a letter to applicants saying, in effect, their chances for admission are higher if the tax hike on the Nov. 6 ballot passes. Tax foes say that's illegal.

Hundreds of thousands of applicants to California State University campuses this year will be receiving a warning instead of the typical warm note thanking them for their interest.

The spots they are hoping to fill next year, the prospective students will be cautioned, could evaporate if the governor's push to raise taxes in November fails. The letter also will say no admissions decisions will be made until a few weeks after the election, a departure from the usual policy of notifying applicants beginning in October.

The likely take-away: Vote Yes on Proposition 30 to help boost your prospects.

"Because enrollment capacity is tied to the amount of available state funding, the campuses will be able to admit more applicants if Proposition 30 passes and fewer applicants if the proposition fails," says a draft of a letter to be emailed to applicants at CSU Monterey Bay starting Oct. 1.

If the measure passes, it says, "the CSU budget would be less likely subject to cuts, and potentially could be increased in future years." The missive notes that the Board of Trustees has endorsed Proposition 30 and includes a link to the Yes on 30 campaign.
In one sense, the letter is only the truth; if the colleges don't get the money tax money they hope for, they will be able to accommodate less students. However, this letter smacks of a deliberate attempt by the board of reagents of the Cal State system to scare students into voting new taxes.  It's not hard to encourage students to vote for taxes.  Most students are not making a lot of money in any event, because they are new in their careers, or not in careers at all yet, and hence, their "fair share" of taxes under our progressive system is rather small.

There is no assurance, however, that once taxes are raised, more student spots will be made available. Cal State campuses are noted for their bloated bureaucracies, for example, the Cal State system has more administrators than teachers, and protects slots for out of state and foreign students because they pay more in tuition.

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