Via another blogger I have had my attention drawn to the following article about higher education in California. I'm reproducing it here as it is an exact mirror image of what is happening to higher education in the UK. Read & weep.
"In their Fall 2012 article in Dissent,
Aaron Bady and Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal reveal what
higher education used to mean and how it was systematically destroyed.
Bady and Konczal transport us to 1950s-’60s California, where bipartisan
support for a University of California system built the state into a
land of prosperity and innovation, a burgeoning middle class sent its
children to college for free, and progressive Republicans
happily funded education to support inclusion and social mobility for
California’s next generation. In 1960, the Donahoe Act, or the Master
Plan for Higher Education, represented California’s commitment to
educate anyone who wanted to be educated. Despite the concurrent trends
of racism, sexism, and American imperialism that pervaded that era,
California’s higher education system was a golden example of what
America could achieve.
So what happened? Where did it go? In 1966,
Ronald Reagan was elected Governor of California and began dismantling
the promising work of the past 20 years. Previously, admission had been
free, except for a few relatively small fees, but the Reagan government
lifted regulations on how much schools could charge in fees, allowing
costs to skyrocket. Also, incentives were created for colleges to accept
out-of-state students, who would pay higher fees. Both of these
strategies shifted the financial responsibility for higher education
onto students rather than the state. The process of culturally
redefining higher education as not a right, or a public good, but an
investment, subject to the whims of the marketplace and corporate
capitalism, had begun."