The California Master Plan for Higher Education in Perspective

The Master Plan was adopted in 1960, at a time not unlike our own. Baby boomers were reaching college age and vast increases in college enrollment were projected for the years 1960-1975. The Master Plan was born of the tremendous pressures to find a way to educate unprecedented numbers of students, and it succeeded beyond all expectations. The Master Plan did much more than that, however. It also helped create the largest and most distinguished system of public higher education in the nation.

There are two major dimensions to this accomplishment:

Among the other indicators of the Master Plan's success:

Today, as California faces another large wave of students entering higher education, we believe the Master Plan is as wise and sound a guide as it was nearly four decades ago. In addition to preserving the Master Plan's differentiation of functions and admissions pools, we believe it would be a mistake to waver from the commitment to universal access to higher education that Californians associate with the Master Plan. That is, since 1960, even under severe budgetary constraints, UC and CSU have continued to admit and offer a place to every California high school student who is eligible, and the Community Colleges have offered places to all high school graduates and adults who wish to attend.

Educational Relations Department
UC Office of the President, Jan 2007
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