Laila Lalami's article and one of the posted comments accurately describe the declining state support of California's higher education system. The voters' message to the governor and legislature in the May 19 special election was, "Solve the problems we elected you to fix." Voters rejected taking away funds targeted toward mental health and children's healthcare. It's a two-thirds requirement to pass a budget that is driving this state into financial chaos.
Students have experienced fee increases seven of the past eight years, and the share of the state's budget devoted to higher education continues on a downward slide. To reverse this trend, majority leader Alberto Torrico is working with students and faculty in support of AB 656, a bill to levy a tax on oil companies, who enjoyed record profits last year, and direct the funds to higher ed. A recent Public Policy Institute of California study says the state will face a shortfall of one million graduates by 2025.
There is no better long-term investment than education. It's what made California's economy the largest in the country.