David Simpson of the UC Davis English Department (you know, that English Department) in the London Review of Books blog.
Huge increases in tuition fees are central to the protests on campus. Once upon a time the promise of better-paying jobs might have convinced students that it was worth going into debt to get a top-ranked education. In the present economy this is not a persuasive argument. Many are objecting to what they rightly see as the incremental privatisation of public education, which will eventually produce universities that all look the same: the poorest students who make the academic cut will be covered by financial aid, and everyone else will pay huge fees. Tuition at UC now stands at around $13,000 (it was $6400 in 2003-04) and according to some projections could double by 2015, without fully addressing the radical shortfall in state funding that has caused the problem. Even $25,000 may look like a relative bargain compared to the top private schools, but it is a massive shift in the ethos of the public university.
There’s lots more there.