Provost’s Message on the Study Group’s Final Report, June 2014
The Final Report of the UC Davis Study Group on Accessibility and Affordability has recently been completed, and is now offered to the campus community and general public on this website. I believe that this ambitious report will be of great use and interest to all of us as we continue to work to enhance the accessibility and affordability of a UC Davis education.
There is probably no more urgent issue for our students, and indeed all of our campus community, than the sharply rising cost of a UC Davis education in recent years. The negative consequences of this rise for our students have been and continue to be serious. Many of our students feel overburdened with loan debt and/or excessive work commitments that take time and energy away from their studies. In the worst cases, talented and motivated young scholars may decide that the cost of attending UC Davis is too great, and either choose not to enroll here or drop out midway in their academic career.
Such consequences are more than enough to compel our attention and remedial efforts. But there is another argument that deserves our consideration. As a land-grant institution with a primary mission of serving the public, we have a special responsibility to do all we can to keep a UC Davis education accessible and affordable to Californians of all economic backgrounds.
For all of these reasons, the financial challenges that our students are currently facing must be of very deep concern to all of our community.
Among the significant steps the university has taken to lessen the financial burdens of our students—in addition to providing various types of financial relief—was the creation, in May 2012, of the UC Davis Study Group on Accessibility and Affordability.
The Study Group, which has now completed its distinguished service, was led by Professor Ann Stevens, chair of the Department of Economics and director of the Center for Poverty Research, and included faculty, staff, and students from across the campus. As I announced above, the Study Group recently submitted its Final Report, which provides articulate research and analysis on three related topics: “Earnings Gains from a College Education in California,” “UC Davis Student Costs,” and “Student Borrowing in the United States and at UC Davis.”
As the Study Group has said, our community’s dialogue on these current challenges “must be informed by a clear and accurate understanding of access and affordability realities at our university.” The Chancellor and I believe that the group’s Final Report makes an essential contribution toward that objective, and we urge all members of the campus community to read it.
Ralph J. Hexter
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor