SAN FRANCISCO – Janet Napolitano is leaving her post as head of the 240,000-employee, $60-billion-a-year Department of Homeland Security to take the helm of another bloated bureaucracy: The University of California.
The former Arizona governor is set to leave her Homeland Security post and take over the huge 10-campus university system at the end of August.
The system has an operating budget of more than $24 billion, almost triple the entire state budget in Arizona and larger than most state governments.
Spending amounts to around $100,000 for each student, while tuition and fees are about $13,200 a year — and many lower-income students pay far less.
Much of this spending “is unrelated to instructional function,” according to Richard Vedder, who directs the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and teaches economics at Ohio University. “The university’s bureaucracy is famously monumental, centralized, and costly.”
In addition to administrators and support staff at each campus, the central office in Oakland employs more than 2,300 full-time workers. The office of the president’s “external relations” division includes more than 55 managerial-type employees, plus support personnel. And the “business operations” and “academic affairs” divisions are even larger.
To serve its 240,000 students, the university system has 18,896 faculty members and some 189,000 staff members.
“The university took some budgetary hits from the state in recent years but offset them with huge tuition increases. No serious attempt was made to vastly cut costs,” Vedder writes for Bloomberg.
“Rather than bring in a leader with a proven record of recognizing the need to re-examine the public university and innovate to face these realities, the university’s Board of Regents has brought in a veteran at managing and perpetuating bureaucracies, one well-connected enough to keep the federal flow of support coming and to shake more money from the state’s already overburdened taxpayers.”