(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)
Saturday, 15 October 2016 00:00 By Gus Bagakis, Truthout | News Analysis
Fifty-five years ago, as a white working-class veteran, I was able to graduate from the University of California without debt. I was the first in my family to do so. Entrance was easy: there was room and I was in the top 10 percent of my high school class. I paid a small service fee, but no tuition, since my education was free. My living expenses were covered by my part-time job, my G.I. benefits and cheap room and board at my parents’ house. After graduation, I had many job prospects. The future looked good.
Over the years, things have changed. I probably couldn’t get in today. The University of California cannot accommodate all of the eligible students. Tuition, installed in 1970, has hugely increased. Wealthier and out-of-state students have nearly replaced the working class of my day. The state has failed to invest the resources necessary to keep pace with demand. And good jobs, after a debt-burdened graduation, are hard to get. Why? The answer lies in the economic shift caused by the business community in its attempt to regain control of the economy from the effects of FDR’s New Deal.