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Robert J. Birgeneau
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Previous conversations:

Current edition
An international campus

February 2010
The battle for Berkeley's future

January 2008
Confronting the challenges of the affordability and access to higher education

September 2007
The Hewlett Challenge, the Energy Biosciences Institute, and equity and inclusion

March 2007
The Energy Biosciences Institute

Dec. 2006
Exploring intercollegiate athletics at UC Berkeley

Oct. 2005
From stem cells to smart buildings: The world of research at UC Berkeley

May 2005
Christopher Edley, Maria Mavroudi, and Tyrone Hayes on the challenges facing UC Berkeley

July 2004
Introducing Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau

Sept. 2002 - April 2004
Episodes hosted by previous chancellor Robert M. Berdahl


Confronting the challenges of the affordability and access to higher education

For more than a century, public universities have been the primary gateway to the American dream for millions of students from low- and middle-income families. On this edition of "Bear in Mind," UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau leads a conversation about how and why the university is confronting the challenges of access to and affordability of higher education.

In recent weeks, some of the nation's wealthiest private universities have announced plans to use funds from their substantial endowments to cap the cost of attending their institutions for families that earn up to $180,000 a year. The bigger challenge is how public universities, which educate most of America's students and do not have the same financial resources, can keep the doors open for low- and middle-income families. Berkeley, on its own, will continue to enroll more federal Pell Grant recipients than all of the Ivy League schools combined. Sustaining Berkeley’s ability to admit and educate students regardless of their socioeconomic status will require new thinking and new partnerships in an era of rising costs and limited sources of financial aid.

Joining Chancellor Birgeneau for this discussion about what can and should be done to keep Berkeley accessible and affordable are Associate Vice Chancellor for Admissions and Enrollment Susanna Castillo-Robson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions Walter Robinson, and Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri.

audio A full transcript of the episode is available

The video is 34:25 minutes in length and covers the issues listed below (along with their respective start and end points):

• How are the issues of access and affordability connected to UC Berkeley’s mission and traditions? 0:00 > 8:30

• How much does it actually cost to attend Berkeley? What does the term "self-help level" mean, and how does it apply to Berkeley's undergraduates? 8:30 > 14:14

• What is the campus' perspective on recent efforts by Harvard and Yale to lower the cost of attendance for low- and middle-income students? 14:15 > 17:29

• What can UC do to insure continued access and affordability for prospective students regardless of socioeconomic status? 17:30 > 22:57

• How do Berkeley's admissions process and outreach efforts support broad accessibility? 22:58 > 30:34

• Final thoughts for prospective students and their families. 30:35 > 34:25


Focus on Issues: A listing and roundup of recent stories on the issue of affordability and access in public higher education.

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