Archive for 2005
The Regents of the University of California
The Davis Faculty Association represents voluntary dues-paying members who serve on the faculty of the University of California Davis. Our membership is gravely concerned about the issue of non-resident tuition for foreign graduate students. As the Board of Regents is well aware, foreign students are currently required to pay significant tuition charges, in excess of the fees that are paid by resident graduate students, without the ability to gain residency.
The Davis campus instituted a policy wherein research grants that employ students as a graduate student researcher must pay the full non-resident tuition. This has created a situation where the cost to grants employing non-resident students has become excessive, to the point where it may be more attractive to employ a postdoctoral researcher, thus reducing both the research and employment opportunities for graduate students. Language departments which seek to employ native-speaking graduate students as instructors in basic language skills are also seriously impacted.
The training of foreign students, many of whom remain in the United States and in California in particular, and who form the basis of the next-generation of faculty for the University and entrepreneurs in start-ups and high tech businesses and industries, is essential. These students contribute to the vitality of our graduate programs, and they make significant contributions to the health of the California economy.
The DFA supports the efforts of the University to ameliorate this problem by freezing graduate non-resident fees for 2005-06 and eliminating fees for three years once students qualify for candidacy to the Ph.D. as a good first step. These proposals offer some relief to faculty researchers and academic departments but are still inadequate in solving this system-wide problem; non-resident graduate students (and their University sponsors) are still burdened with the prospect of enormous fees, and as a result, many simply do not come to California. We are not competing adequately with other institutions that recruit the top talent from overseas.
The membership of the Davis Faculty Association trusts that the Board will keep these issues in mind as it discusses the future of graduate education at the University.
Ian Kennedy, Chair
Davis Faculty Association
by Charles P. Nash, VP-External Relations and Eric Hays, Director-External Relations
On October 26, 2005 we had our now-customary annual meeting with Assistant Vice President for Academic Advancement, Ellen Switkes, and Vice President for Budget, Larry Hershman. Among other things, these late autumn meetings give us a preview of the budget proposal that the administration will be presenting to the regents at their November meeting, to be held this year on November 16-17 in Berkeley. We also discussed several personnel policies of interest to CUCFA members: Faculty salaries, merits and benefits; annuitant heath benefits; student fees, especially non-resident graduate student fees; and private funding for executive compensation.
UC Budget and Faculty Benefits:
Last year at this time, with some apprehension, the University proposed a budget that was in line with the “compact” that UC and CSU had recently reached with Governor Schwarzenegger. That agreement was generally honored in the 2005-06 budget, which suggests that this year it probably will be as well.
By covering enrollment increases and including minimal pay increases (merits, COLAs, etc.) in the range of 3% to 4% per year, the proposed budget partially stems the budgetary erosion that UC has long suffered. In the last 20 years the state’s per-student subsidy for UC students has fallen 40% in constant dollars. The Academic Council unanimously chose to continue having COLAs begin in October rather than in July so as to have the largest possible increase in the salary base; however, merits will be awarded in July (this due in part to CUCFA’s participation in the lawsuit initiated when because of budget cuts merits were deferred in the early 1990’s).
The compact-based budget does nothing to reduce the growing student : faculty ratio (now 19.5) or to address the erosion of faculty salaries relative to our comparison-eight institutions. The UC faculty salary lag is expected to grow to about 15% this year. Recently, UC has emphasized the unusual strength of its benefits package in an attempt to compensate for non-competitive salaries. Both of our contacts stated that these advantages are now likely to be short-lived. UC plans to cap health benefit cost increases at 5% per year. Also, both the university and its employees will have to begin making regular contributions to the retirement system (UCRS), probably starting in 2007-08. The administration says that such contributions will be phased in over a period of years. Our own view in this regard is that the employee contribution rate will ultimately approximate CalPERS’s 5% of salary.
Although it is probably not widely known among active faculty members and employees, annuitant health insurance is not a UCRS benefit. Rather, it appears as a line item in the UC budget that in recent years has not been well-enough funded by the legislature to cover the actual costs thereof. Annuitant health care has suddenly become an issue because new retirement system reporting requirements will spotlight the estimated $10 billion unfunded liability that this benefit represents. The UC Regents have appointed a committee to explore options to address this issue and will be discussing the committee’s findings at a spring meeting. As we see it, in a very unlikely worst case scenario this benefit could be eliminated entirely for faculty and other University employees who are not covered by collective bargaining agreements.
UC Tying Faculty Salary Parity to Student Fee Increases:
UC wants to restore competitive faculty salaries before the benefits differential disappears. It plans to do that in part by increasing undergraduate student fees. This funding source will also be used to decrease the student : faculty ratio, thereby presumably enhancing the quality of undergraduate education across the system. The administration believes that currently UC’s undergraduate fees are enough lower than those of our legitimate comparison institutions to justify about four years’ worth of accelerated increases before parity is reached.
Professional Student Fees:
The Governor, who opposes increasing undergraduate fees, has supported raising graduate student fees, especially at the law and business schools, which now receive very little state money and have fees comparable to those of to private schools. Several campuses are proposing fee increases that will continue this trend, and fees are already up to $27,000 per year, $40,000 for non resident students. Our UCOP contacts were concerned that the fee situation at professional schools might become a slippery slope for fees in other programs.
Non-resident Graduate Student Tuition:
As faculty members are well aware, rapidly rising graduate student fees have created huge problems in the recruitment and funding of academic graduate students — largely, though not exclusively, in the sciences and engineering. Non resident graduate fees pose a particular problem for international students, who cannot become California residents. The administration plans to address the last point by freezing non-resident graduate fees at the current level and totally eliminating non-resident fees for up to three years after a student has been advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D degree. (The current non-resident post-candidacy fee reduction is 75%.) The three-year limit is intended to encourage students to finish their degrees promptly.
Private Funding for Executive Compensation:
as was reported widely in newspapers across the state, at their September, 2005 meeting, the UC regents committee on finance floated an idea to seek private funds to augment the salaries of 42 senior leadership positions with current annual salaries equal to or greater than $350,000. We were told that this idea was being pushed by certain Regents rather than by the University Administration. According to the September Regents agenda the proposal was to be voted upon at the November meeting. It originally was on that agenda, but as of this writing it had been withdrawn.
It is noteworthy that the looming changes in benefits programs that are described in the above paragraphs first came to CUCFA’s attention deep down in the same September Regents’ finance committee document that raised the issue of executive compensation. Since these items are clearly matters of concern to the Faculty Associations, CUCFA leaders will be meeting with Judy Boyette, Associate Vice President – Human Resources & Benefits, at the end of November.
Dear DFA Members:
The DFA Board is sending the following information to you as a means of helping you determine whether or not to sign up for the disability insurance being offered during the Nov. Open Enrollment period. You, of course, will need to make that decision based on your own personal situation. Some faculty feel that if they are approaching retirement, it would not make sense to get Disability Insurance: if one were to become disabled,taking retirement might provide more than the Disability Insurance. See the link below for additional information and the following message sent to us at our request from Barbara Horowitz:
You are correct in that there is a draft of a new policy regarding medical separation which provides for the separation of an academic appointee who cannot return to work (or perform the essential duties of their position) after a period of medical leave (I don’t believe the length of time is stipulated). However, there is also a draft of a revised APM 710 (leaves) which puts a cap on paid medical leave for academics that do not accrue sick leave (this includes faculty). The cap would be 1 year for academics with at least 10 years of service and 6 months for academics with less than 10 years of service (see the quote below). Both of these drafts went to the campuses (including the various Senates) for informal review in March, 2005. They have not yet been released. Anticipating the release of these 2 policies, OP negotiated an opportunity for current academics to enroll in supplemental disability insurance without a medical exam during November’s open enrollment period. They can also change their waiting period during this time as well. OP is recommending a waiting period of 180 days. As you probably know, staff and some academics do accrue sick leave at the rate of 2 days/month. Faculty do not — but if they did accrue at the same level as staff and other academics, it would take 22 years to accrue 1 year of paid sick leave.
DRAFT Revised APM 710-22
“a. Academic appointees with less than 10 years of service may be granted a maximum of six months of consecutive or intermittent paid sick leave in a ten year period for personal illness or injury.
“b. A maximum of six months of paid sick leave with the possibility of up to six additional months of paid sick leave, subject to approval by the Chancellor, may be granted to academic appointees who have 10 years or more of University service in an eligible academic title at the time of personal illness or injury. The maximum amount of paid sick leave for those with 10 years or more of service is one year of consecutive or intermittent paid sick leave in a ten-year period.”
I hope the above helps.
For more information about the Disability Insurance, click on this link.
by Ian Kennedy
Non-resident graduate students are currently required by the University of California to pay significant tuition charges, in excess of the fees that are paid by resident graduate students. US citizens and permanent residents can become residents of the state of California following one year of residency. However, foreign nationals cannot follow this route to Californian residency. The non-resident fees are reduced by 75 percent following advancement of the student to candidacy for the Ph.D., usually following successful completion of their qualifying exam. Students then have three years to complete their degree, but if this time limit is exceeded the non-resident tuition once again increases to the full amount.
In order to support non-resident students, the Davis campus instituted a policy wherein research grants that employ students as a graduate student researcher must pay the full non-resident tuition. This has created a situation where the cost to grants employing non-resident students has become excessive, to the point where it may be more attractive to employ a postdoctoral researcher, as has been noticed in Washington. House Republicans are investigating the use of federal funds through grants to pay non-resident tuition, a practice that leads, in the estimation of the Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, to foreign students receiving more in total compensation than many post-doctoral scholars. The University of California Davis rates a special mention because the Committee used our Graduate Studies web site as a source of information.
Non-resident fees also wreak havoc with language departments that recruit native-speakers as graduate students and TAs. These departments have to use most of their block grants on huge out-of-state fees for students who cannot claim residency. The education of graduate students, both US citizens and foreign nationals, is an important mission of the University of California. The demise of the graduate program due to the imposition on non-resident fees on grants is a serious issue for the faculty
The imposition on non-resident fees arose during budget negotiations between the State Legislature and the University. It is apparent that the Legislature does not understand the important role of foreign graduate students, or graduate education in general, in the University’s mission. Nor does it appreciate the economic contribution of graduates who remain, or the political benefit of those introduced to our culture.
The Academic Senate of the University is not at liberty to lobby the Legislature in this regard. However the Davis Faculty Association, in conjunction with the Council of the University of California Faculty Associations, is free to undertake political lobbying activities. The DFA believes this is an important issue for many faculty members, and one which must be taken up with the legislators. It is not productive to complain within the University – we need to indicate to the Legislature the importance of training foreign students, many of whom remain in the United States and in California in particular, and who form the basis of the next-generation of faculty for the University and entrepreneurs in start-ups and high tech businesses and industries. This issue is a high priority for the Association. The DFA will work with CUCFA to educate legislators about the importance of graduate education and the role of non-resident students. To contact the DFA, email email@example.com.
DFA Opposes Regents Salary Proposal for Administrators and Possible Changes to Faculty Benefit Package
by Ian Kennedy
The DFA is closely monitoring discussion by the UC Board of Regents in regard to private sources of compensation for senior University administrators. At press-time, it was not clear whether the adverse public reaction to this proposal had persuaded the Board to drop the proposal. We are also tracking discussion of faculty benefits. A brief summary is provided below; the full document can be found on the web.
Private Funding to Augment Salaries
The Finance Committee of the Board of Regents recommended a change in compensation for senior administrators, from the President of the University of California down to the Deans of professional schools. They proposed that private funding be raised to increase the compensation paid to these senior administrators because the total compensation package received by this select group lags the market. They believe that this discrepancy impedes the recruitment and retention of highly qualified and talented administrators.
This issue may have ramifications for the faculty and the University as a whole. First, the concept of raising private funding to pay the compensation of University employees is troubling to many of the faculty. Second, it is not clear that general private donations to the University will be safe during times when the gifts are not sufficient to maintain the elevated salaries. The administration may be tempted in times of budgetary difficulty to dip into the general donations to support compensation packages, reducing available funding for other academic activities such as student support, research initiatives, classroom and laboratory construction, inter alia.
Retirement Benefits Threatened
Within the same document the Finance Committee made note of the cost of benefits paid to the faculty and retirees, having employed a private consulting firm to study the issue. Although salaries lagged behind measures of the current market, total compensation was found to be similar to the market due to the generous benefits paid by the University. This report noted that the University of California is one of the few remaining employees that provide generous retirement and health benefits to its employees and retirees and suggests that this practice may end: “Within the next couple of years, following intensive review, it is expected that there will be reductions in these benefits…. Additionally, it is anticipated that the value of both the Health and Welfare benefits and the Retirement and Retiree Medical benefits will be reduced significantly over the next few years….”
This is an issue which is of substantial concern to both present employees and retirees. In particular, reduction in the benefits for health coverage for retirees is likely to have a significant impact on the more senior faculty and possibly on retirees. This is a very important issue that DFA is keenly interested in. We are expressing our concerns about both of these proposals to the University and the Regents; we will monitor developments closely. As more information comes to light, the membership of the association will be informed.