Majoring in 'Homelessness' at UCLA

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Last week, The Takeaway reported that student loan debt is rising along with the college tuition rate. According to the College Board, the average cost per year of tuition is up more 8.3 percent for public four year colleges and up 4.5 percent for private schools. The average college student now finishes school with between $22,000 and $28,000 of debt. While President Obama announced a new program that the White House says will help lower student loan interest rates, some students refuse to take on the burden of debt. Celeste is in Los Angeles this week and she spoke to one such student, a UCLA undergraduate who is so concerned about debt, he's decided to finish his education homeless.

UCLA student Michael majors in anthropology at UCLA. He has just five more weeks of school until graduation, and he has spent the last quarter homeless on campus.

Produced by:

Christabel Nsiah-Buadi and Jillian Weinberger

Comments [5]

Milan Moravec from California

University of California hijack’s our kids’ futures: student loan debt. I love University of California (UC) having been student & lecturer. But today I am concerned that at times I do not recognize the UC I love. Like so many I am deeply disappointed by the pervasive failures of Regent Chairwoman Lansing, President Yudof, Chancellor Birgeneau from holding the line on rising costs & tuition increases. Paying more is not a better education.
Californians are reeling from 19% unemployment (includes: those forced to work part time; those no longer searching), mortgage defaults, loss of unemployment benefits. And those who still have jobs are working longer for less. Faculty wages must reflect California's ability to pay, not what others are paid.
Current pay increases for generously paid University of California Faculty is arrogance. Instate tuition consumes 14% of Ca. Median Family Income!
Paying more is not a better education. UC Berkeley(# 70 Forbes) tuition increases exceed the national average rate of increases. Chancellor Birgeneau has molded Cal. into the most expensive public university.
UC President Yudof, Cal. Chancellor Birgeneau($450,000 salary) dismissed many much needed cost-cutting options. They did not consider freezing vacant faculty positions, increasing class size, requiring faculty to teach more classes, doubling the time between sabbaticals, cutting & freezing pay & benefits for chancellors & reforming pensions & the health benefits.
They said such faculty reforms “would not be healthy for UC”. Exodus of faculty, administrators? Who can afford them and where would they go?
We agree it is far from the ideal situation, but it is in the best interests of the university system & the state to stop cost increases. UC cannot expect to do business as usual: raising tuition; granting pay raises & huge bonuses during a weak economy that has sapped state revenues & individual Californians’ income.
There is no question the necessary realignments with economic reality are painful. Regent Chairwoman Lansing can bridge the public trust gap with reassurances that salaries & costs reflect California’s ability to pay. The sky above UC will not fall when Chancellor Birgeneau is ousted.

Opinions? Email the UC Board of Regents

Nov. 09 2011 10:09 PM
Michael Kashiktchian from UCLA - Los Angeles

I have been attending UCLA debt free my entire college career because I am a low income student. FAFSA has provided me with the necessary financial aid to make it through successfully for the terms that I have been here, except for this last one.

I am within my unit maximum here at UCLA and the way our system works now (my family and I are taxpayers), we qualify for financial aid. Why is it that my financial aid at UCLA is terminated during my last quarter? I don't "want a new car," and if you have qualms with "others paying for me," then your issue is that you disagree with the financial aid system. That's how FAFSA works here in the United States.

You are right that the school shouldn't have to pay for me. But when the guidelines of FAFSA state that it will pay for your education if you qualify, then it should; else it would be misleading.

Lastly, you asked me to learn what life is really like. I'd like for you to know that I have two jobs right now and I am homeless. I'm also acing each of my three classes.

Nov. 07 2011 02:46 AM

If I "refuse to take on the burden of debt" but really want a new car, should the auto makers or dealers have to accommodate me?

Why do we assume that others should pay for what we want but can't afford, especially when that desired commodity is not essential for life?

Nov. 03 2011 12:13 PM

If the student's choice is to have no debt, why should the school have to pay for his meals and housing? You can't say that you don't want to pay for something and then complain that you don't have it. Just because Mom and Dad can't pay for everything for his college and the school won't offer special jobs, doesn't mean the student can't go look for another job elsewhere to pay his bills like everyone else in society. Education is more than sitting in classes - learn what life is really like.

Nov. 03 2011 12:09 PM

What is the average salary with benefits of a tenured professor at UCLA instructing anthropology? Surely a reporter sent "on assignment" across the nation for a public radio station would ask that basic question.

Nov. 03 2011 11:58 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.