Courtesy of UCLA Bruin Walk

UCLA’s Faculty Legislative Assembly has voted in favor of a proposal which would eliminate state funding for the Anderson School of Management program. Approval from UC President Mark G. Yudof and the Academic Senate are needed to finalize passage of the proposal. If endorsed, approximately $8 million of existing state funds would be redistributed from the Anderson School of Management to other divisions of the campus. Opposition arose over the possibility of creating further privatization among other UC institutions.

“Our proposal is a response to the urgent need to find solutions to campus-wide financial challenges. We are at a critical moment at UCLA where we must find innovative responses to dramatic cuts in funding while protecting the great engine of research and education we have here,” stated Julie Olian, dean of the MBA program and author of the proposal. With the enrollment of approximately 720 students, the MBA program would be self-sustained in the face of severe cuts to the UC system. Olian emphasized the need for alternative methods in generating much-needed funding, while advancing the mission of the university.

Resistance to the proposal has arisen due to the potential for inequality among existing academic programs, which may result from holding those of greater affluence at a much higher standard. Most of these programs are self-supported through private donations and tend to cater to non-traditional or part-time students. The lack of state funding for the MBA program has conjured fears that the quality of education will follow down a path of privatization. Some believe that the reliance on private donations and tuition fees will shape public education as that of a private good by allowing more affluent donors a greater advantage to these programs.

The possibility of redistributing existing state funds to other areas of the UCLA campus remain an appealing attribute to the proposal. On the same note, the MBA program would still be required to abide by all UC rules and governances if the plan is approved and initiated. The financial self-sufficiency of the MBA program would aid the school in competing for potential students and faculty, with the possibility of establishing both international programs and online courses in the future.  Prestigious business programs in other universities such as the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia have taken similar steps in changing their business programs.

Current tuition fees at the Anderson school remain at $45,385 for California residents and $52,580 for out-of-state students. Under the new proposal, cuts to the UC system would no longer deprive adequate funding to the MBA Program. The beginning passage of the proposal was approved by a 53-46 margin, yet faculty members of the graduate division have appealed the vote to the Faculty Legislative Assembly. According to officials, the plan will most likely fail if the assembly votes against it.