Is California's most famous public university not California's at all?
That is the question being asked by UC Berkeley"s chancellor. Robert Birgeneau says his university is now receiving more money from the federal government than it collects from California and students.
He says the distinction forces the university to consider whether it is a California school at all, or if it should start describing itself as a national school.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in 2011, UC Berkeley will receive $500 million in research funding from the federal government, while the state will pay about $340 million and student fees will bring in $315 million.
Just six years ago when Birgeneau took over the school, UC Berkeley received about $450 million from the state compared to $300 million from the federal government and $150 million from student fees.
California's support for the school could get even worse this year if Gov. Jerry Brown has his way. The governor has proposed a series of cuts to balance the state's budget that would impact the UC system.
But what does changing the moniker of the school from a state to a federal university mean? Would in-state tuition go level with out-of-state tuition? Would Californians not be given preference for admission?
Birgeneau tells the Chronicle he is not sure what the change means. It is something the school still has to figure out.