Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) opens with his vision for the future of the Master Plan for Higher Education in California. (Assembly Democratic Caucus)
Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) hosted the first hearing of the Assembly Committee on the Master Plan for Higher Education in Sacramento, California this passing Wednesday.
“Much has changed in California during the ensuing decades. From population growth, to increased diversity, change in leading industries and their need for talent, as well as in the field of education itself,” said Berman. “I am very encouraged by the level of engagement from my colleagues, the leaders of the higher education institutions, faculty, students, and other stakeholders. I look forward to working with all parties as we conduct a thorough review of the Master Plan. 57 years ago the state made a promise to its students to provide accessible, affordable, and high quality higher education.
Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California, convenes in front of the committee with an overview and status of higher education in California. (Assembly Democratic Caucus)
The Master Plan was approved at a joint meeting of the Regents of the University of California and the State Board of Education on December 18, 1959. The main objective during the time of the Master Plan’s creation was to ensure that a form of higher education could be available to all regardless of their economic means. It also differentiated the functions of Community College’s, the California State University system, and the University of California system so as to not waste the state’s resources on arbitrary efforts to expand.
The creation of the Master Plan sought to broaden the framework of higher education and allowed the three tiers of public higher education in California to advance their responsibilities. The Plan states that the top one-eighth percent of high school graduates would be guaranteed a place at a campus of the UC system tuition free. The top one-third percent would be offered scholarships to any California State University system tuition-free. Community College’s would harbor any students looking for further higher education.
In 2005, some key provisions were made. Previously, obtaining a doctoral degree was only available to students of the UC system. Now, California State University’s could offer PhD degrees as “joint” degrees in combination with the UC system. Under the provisions of Senate Bill 724, signed into law Sept. 22, 2005, the campuses of the California State University were then able to directly offer a Doctor of Education degree (Ed.D)
In 2010, the CSU was also given the opportunity to offer two more doctoral degrees in Nursing (DNP) and Physical Therapy (DPT).
Provisions in the earlier years of the Master Plan did not lead to significant changes but due to the ongoing cultural and economic shifts something must be done to combat the dramatic changes California faces. It is imperative for leaders of the select committee to take into account the growing populations in California just like in the 1950’s when they took into account the large number of baby-boomers looking to further their education.
“The select committee is the first step in a multi-year endeavor that could last up to 6-8 years or longer,” Berman said. “The first two years will be the information gathering phase for the committee where they hear from stakeholders and collect feedback. The following four hearings will be issue focused and examine subjects surrounding workforce needs, students, faculty and staff, cost and funding, and financial aid.”
California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office handed out an extensive report about the Master Plan’s history and its subsequent updates and provisions throughout the years.
If you’d like to view the Informational and Oversight Hearing of the Master Plan for Higher Education follow the link for the hearing in its entirety.