The first day of kindergarten is filled with tears of joy knowing you’re introducing your child to education with the hopes of one day watching them receive their college diploma. Every level of education, from elementary school, middle school and high school focuses on one goal — getting students prepared for college.
The catch 22 of the entire scenario is affordability and the constant reminder that in order to get a high paying job you have to have a college diploma. I would even argue that the normal B.A. degree today is the equivalent of a high school degree 35 years ago. In order to get the lucrative career one desires, a student may need to get a master’s degree.
As parents lay awake at night wondering how they will pay for their children’s college education, they should focus on the amount of money, benefits and perks students receive with a great college education. Try a $576,000 annual salary, full medical benefits, a $9,950 per month housing allowance and an $8,916 per year car allowance. Also, if you have to move for your job — a one time $142,500 relocation fee.
Not a bad deal, right? What? Oh wait — that’s not the average salary of a college grad — that’s the salary and benefits package of current University of California President Janet Napolitano. Yes, that Napolitano, the former Governor of Arizona and former Secretary of Homeland Security for President Obama.
In 2014, Napolitano requested a 5% UC tuition increase every year for the next five years. She stated the need for more money to help cover rising costs of retirement benefits, fund recent pay increases in employee contract settlements, and to hire more faculty. This would raise the annual tuition without room, board and books — from $12,804 to $15,564 by the 2019-2020 school year.
California State Auditor Elaine Howle conducted an audit of the UC system and low and behold — they found $175M in “undisclosed” reserves. $175 million dollars. Say that with your pinky in the corner of your mouth — it sounds more ominous.
Not only did the audit find the embarrassing hidden money but also concluded that the UC President meddled in their investigation.
After the audit request, Napolitano’s office is accused of suggesting that her top administrators direct campuses to change their responses to a survey from Howle’s office. That survey was supposed to be confidential and shed light on her performance as UC President. The audit found that her office caused the campuses to rewrite their responses in a more favorable light.
Corruption from a former Obama cabinet member? Shocking?
Now, before you shoot off your partisan political flare, it’s important to realize that the Democrats in California have spearheaded the anger and there is actually bi-partisan outrage. (For those of you new to government, you might want to look up the term ‘bi-partisan.’)
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County) called for her resignation stating, “In my 17 years as state auditor, we have never had a situation like this. President Napolitano no longer engenders the public trust required to perform her duties. It’s time she resigned.”
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), one of the lawmakers who initially requested the audit, said, ““It’s outrageous that anyone would willingly and knowingly tamper with an audit. Anyone who does should pay the price.”
What price? Was it criminal? Should she be held responsible?
Those two Democratic Assembly members said they would introduce a bill to create criminal penalties for obstructing the state’s auditor, and a handful of Republicans called for a subpoena of documents from the university’s central office.
Of course Janet Napolitano apologized for meddling in the audit and the fact that millions of hidden money was found.
“While we believe we did things appropriately, it is clear in retrospect we could have handled this better,” Napolitano said. “I am sorry that we did it this way because it has created the wrong impression.”
Could have handled what better? The hiding of $175 million? Being more discreet about changing survey answers? Well, that makes it all better.
What’s more infuriating, at a UC Board of Regents meeting in 2014, Napolitano complained that the UC chancellor’s salaries were far lower than the same positions at AAU public universities. They’re not making enough money?
“We are so far off the chart that it will take a little while — a glide path, as it were — to put us where I think the UC should be,” said Napolitano.
Considering that student loan debt is at a staggering $1.4 trillion dollars — yes, with a ‘T.’ This kind of greediness is outrageous and needs to be addressed.
How can someone in her position ignore the student debt crisis, increase tuition, and still have the gall to request higher salaries for herself and UC Chancellors? How does her office hide $175M?
Considering this takes place in California and the University is funded by tax dollars, one might be interested to know that the UC system sets aside $8.4 million a year to fund the UC education of illegal immigrants. Yes, they get their diploma for free and Napolitano is proud about that.
“We are committed to continuing a path forward for undocumented students at the University of California,” said Napolitano. “This funding will further strengthen the university’s undocumented student initiative, and help ensure that these students receive the support and resources they need to succeed.”
What about the children of American citizens? You know, the individuals paying the taxes?
Janet Napolitano should resign and if she doesn’t — she should be removed. Don’t worry, she’s amassed enough wealth in “public service” to put hundreds of kids through college. Hey, maybe she would pay for….no, let’s not be ridiculous.
When you wonder how you’re going to be able to afford your children’s college education, drive by all the UC Chancellor mansions near the 10 campuses. Take a look at their Mercedes and BMWs parked in the driveway and know that your tax dollars are hard at work. Or, maybe change your citizenship status.