SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — University of California leaders on Wednesday called for an expansion of online courses to help the 10-campus system contain costs, broaden access and hold down tuition rates.
UC President Mark Yudof said the university plans to launch several online education initiatives in the next few months, including an incentive program to encourage faculty members to create digital versions of high-demand, entry-level courses.
"It's no secret that UC has hit a wall with regard to traditional instructional methods," Yudof said at the UC Board of Regents meeting. "The finances simply no longer exist to support the old model of instruction in many ways."
The board meeting in San Francisco was attended by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been pressing California colleges to embrace online education to make college more accessible and affordable.
In his 2013-2014 budget, Brown has proposed giving California's public colleges and universities more money, thanks to the November passage of Proposition 30 tax initiative. But in return, he wants them to control expenses, stop raising tuition and move more classes online.
"There's a brute reality out there," Brown told the regents. "There's not a luxury of sitting in the present trajectory unless you don't mind paying ever increasing tuition."
Brown's budget plan would increase state funding for UC by $250 million — less than what the university had requested, but a welcome change from several years of deep budget cuts.
At the meeting, Yudof thanked Brown for the proposed budget increase and said he believed UC could meet the governor's challenge. He suggested that campuses may have to maintain higher student-faculty ratios in the future.
"We are committed to doing everything we can to keep tuition down," Yudof said. "We are committed to developing the best online education system for our students. And we are committed to maintaining fiscal discipline."
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