Links of the Week

The high human costs of defunding state universities
Capital & Main
Last month a seven-member panel met in the state Capitol to discuss the calamitous funding situation of the California State University system, as well as the prospects for creating free public higher education in the state. The latter idea of nationally establishing cost- and debt-free learning at the college and university levels had been popularized by Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaign last year. Yet in California, the legacy of the revenue-slashing Proposition 13, which California voters approved in 1978 to cut property taxes, remains a formidable stumbling block.

California Democrats unveil a sweeping financial aid plan to help students avoid debt
LA Times
Seizing on growing concerns over college affordability, California lawmakers proposed what would be the most generous college aid plan in the nation Monday, covering not just tuition but also living expenses that have led to spiraling student debt

What the working class wants
Inside Higher Ed
Colleges and universities face a steep challenge separating fact from fiction in the eyes of working-class and middle-income voters, according to recent focus group work conducted by the American Council on Education.

California’s ‘gig economy’ could be hit by Obamacare repeal
Sacramento Bee
Mehran Mesbah, a visual artist and an adjunct professor at California State University, Sacramento, said he only gets coverage through the school when he’s teaching two classes – usually about half the year. When he’s bumped off his Blue Shield plan, the 37-year-old purchases a temporary plan through Covered California so he’s insured while he works other jobs including construction and freelance sculpting.

San Francisco State expanding college access for formerly incarcerated
Diverse Issues in Higher Education
As recently as 18 months ago, Jason Bell had no choice but to tell parolees in many California cities outside San Francisco that they couldn’t access a 50-year-old university program serving formerly incarcerated people aspiring to college degrees.
However, that has changed. San Francisco State University (SFSU) is now replicating Project Rebound — believed to be one of very few formal initiatives of its kind in this country —which has helped hundreds of formerly incarcerated individuals enroll in college and supported them until graduation. This semester, 117 Rebound students attend SFSU.

More than 1 million borrowers defaulted on their student loans last year
Even as the economy continues to improve, student loan borrowers are still struggling to cope with their debts, a new analysis indicates.