Following years of debate, the full-time MBA program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management will transition from state-supported to self-supporting status, Inside Higher Ed has reported. This change means the MBA program will forgo state subsidies in exchange for less regulation from the top and the ability to set its own tuition rates.
The shift may not be as dramatic as it sounds, given the fact that the state only funded about 18 percent of the business school’s operations. Going forward, the Anderson School will now have to pay UCLA for maintenance and overhead expenses.
Long-term trends in the California budget forecast a high likelihood of decline in state support for higher education. Jami Jesek, the senior associate dean of finance and operations at the Anderson School, told Inside Higher Ed, “UCLA Anderson proposed this plan to avoid any additional cuts in state funding while increasing predictability in setting fee levels and flexibility to faculty assignments.”
UCLA Anderson will now have greater control in hiring faculty and determining salary levels. Fees for the full-time MBA program will inevitably increase with this change, but a memorandum of understanding signed by UCLA Anderson dean Judy Olian asserts that the program will ensure that financial aid offerings remain at levels “at least commensurate with current levels.”
Jesek, meanwhile, told Inside Higher Ed, “We intend to increase, not decrease, financial aid in the coming years and are, in fact, making it a primary goal of our five-year Centennial [fund-raising] Campaign.”
Chicago Booth School of Business dean Sunil Kumar, an outside reviewer of the transition, predicted that an increase in private donations would allow UCLA to provide even more merit and need-based scholarships. “In my assessment there is very little doubt that on both quality and on access the Anderson School will be significantly better off under self-supporting status than it has been under state funding.”