Higher education has local roots

A picture and plaque honoring Dorothy Donahoe are encased on the wall in the building named after her at CSUB.

There will be a place in college for anyone who wants it.

That was the monumental promise that was made in 1960 when the landmark Plan for Higher Education in California was adopted by the Legislature.

A little known fact is that this promise was cultivated right here in our own backyard by local Assemblywoman Dorothy Donahoe (after whom Dorothy Donahoe Hall is named at CSUB).

The Donahoe Higher Education Act as it become known recognized the importance of higher education to the state’s economy and committed resources to promote low tuition costs for state residents.

But, the harsh reality is that today, as state funding for higher education continues to spiral downward, universities are forced to put the squeeze on students.

In the past two years alone, the CSU has lost $625 million or 21% of its state funding. The result: CSUB has been forced to make tough decisions, which include things like implementing furloughs and layoffs and raising student fees. What’s more, if a favorable passage of a 2010-11 state budget isn’t passed soon, CSUB is likely to have to turn students away.

As CSUB president Dr. Horace Mitchell said in an op-ed piece in the Aug. 25 issue of
The Bakersfield Californian, “Having to turn students away from higher education is the wrong strategy for California, and it is especially wrong for Bakersfield and the Central Valley.  It makes hollow the promise of the Master Plan for Higher Education.”

Read Dr. Mitchell’s full op-ed piece HERE.

For information about how you can help spread the word about the importance of higher education, click HERE.