BERKELEY (KCBS) – Ongoing budget cuts in California have crippled many higher education institutions, who are trying to maintain a high level of excellence.

But, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said the news is not all bleak.

“We’ve actually managed to preserve the number of seats in class. We’ve reinvested in just the last two years,” Birgeneau said. “That’s partly been made possible by the increasing numbers of out of state and international students who have provided us with some new resources that have helped us replenish the educational programs.”

KCBS Interviews UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau:

Birgeneau said that even with the large influx of students from outside of California enrolling at Berkeley, they have had less overcrowding because of investments they have made.

“The target number for Berkeley for undergraduates when I came in 2004 was 21,000. We have gradually let that number drift up and we are now having the number drift back down,” he said. “We are still above our target number for Californians in our undergraduate body. So we have not displaced Californians. But we’ve invested in new classes so we have fewer overcrowded classes than we had three years ago.”

Birgeneau said that student’s concerns over tuition hikes are understandable and he is trying to work with state officials to prevent further increases.

“I met with the governor a couple of weeks ago and pleaded with him to stabilize our budget. Obviously, we want to see the budget increase but we can’t stand any more cuts,” said Birgeneau. “There is a very direct relationship between continuing cuts by the state and tuition increases. We need to significantly slow down the rate at which our tuition is increasing but at the same time, our students want a quality education.”

Birgeneau said that UC Berkeley continues to be ranked among the top tier of universities in the nation and he hopes that can continue in the future.

You can hear KCBS In Depth, a weekly half-hour news interview, Saturdays at 5:30a.m. and Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (6)
  1. Milan Moravec says:

    Need for transparency at University of California Berkeley has never been so clear. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) displaces qualified for public university education at Cal. instate Californians for a $50,600 payment and a foreign passport.

    UC Berkeley, ranked # 70 Forbes, is not increasing enrollment. Birgeneau accepts $50,600 FOREIGN students at the expense of qualified Californians.

    UC Regent Chairwoman Lansing and President Yudof agree to discriminate against instate Californians for foreigners. Birgeneau, Yudof, Lansing need to answer to Californians.

    Opinions make a difference; email UC Board of Regents

  2. Roger Craig says:

    Californians are loosing their right to a quality education over international students and the dream act. Guess its going to be a part of Mexico or another foreign country soon…

  3. CAL says:

    Yes. Californians are indeed losing their right to affordable education. Firstly the UC system is so much a ‘for profit’ system that they are accepting foreign students more than Californians as the foreigners are the ones who can mostly afford the ever increasing tuition fees. IMO, those high tuition fees are unwarranted. Secondly the present governor has showed residents/citizens that he does not care about them by signing that aforementioned ‘Dream Act’ giving illegal alien students the right to state funded financial aid. So not only do resident citizens have to compete with foreigners but also illegal aliens. These sorts of things are unheard of in other developed countries where their home students are priority and foreign students an afterthought. And definitely illegals have no right to free education.

  4. BOB says:

    Your bad luck?????????

  5. Milan Moravec says:

    University of California faculty gains pay rises from California’s economy pain
    Students and their parents face mortgage defaults, 19% unemployment (including those forced to work part time and those no longer searching), pay reductions, loss of unemployment benefits. UC Faculty receives pay increase. No layoff for Faculty, Chancellors during California’s longest deepest recession.
    There is no good reason to raise faculty salaries, tuition, fees when wage concessions are available. UC wages must reflect California’s ability to pay, not what others are paid. If wages better elsewhere, chancellors, tenured, non tenured faculty, UCOP apply for the positions. If wages determine commitment to UC Berkeley, leave for better paying position. The sky above the 10 campuses will not fall.
    It is time for Faculty, Chancellors to get a grip on financial realities.
    No furloughs. UCOP 18% reduction salaries & $50 million cut.
    Chancellors’, 18% cut. Tenured faculty 15% trim.
    Non-Tenured faculty, 10% reduction. Eliminate 100% Academic Senate, Council costs.
    It is especially galling to continue to generously compensate chancellors, faculty while Californians are making financial sacrifices and faculty, chancellor, turnover is the lowest of public universities.
    The message that President Yudof, UC Board of Regent Chair Lansing, UC Berkeley Birgeneau are sending is they have more concern for generously paid chancellors, faculty. The few at the top need to get a grip on economic reality, fairness.
    Email your opinion UC Board of Regents

  6. Richard Salzman says:

    Subject: Remove Birgeneau now!

    Following brutal attacks by riot police against unarmed non-violent student protesters at Occupy Cal, Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau had this to say:

    “It is unfortunate that some protesters chose to obstruct the police by linking arms and forming a human chain to prevent the police from gaining access to the tents. This is not non-violent civil disobedience…”

    “…We regret that, given the instruction to take down tents and prevent encampment, THE POLICE WERE FORCED TO USE THEIR BATONS to enforce the policy.”

    Do I really need to point out to you that this man must be removed from his position, immediately?

    Send your emails to: regentsoffice (at) ucop (dot) edu

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