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Proposal calls for local control over campuses
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BERKELEY  (AP) — Each of the 10 campuses that make up the University of California system would have the autonomy to set their own tuition, determine how many out-of-state students to enroll and make other key decisions under a proposal floated by top officials at the University of California, Berkeley.

The officials, including UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, say in a new report that the university system has gotten so complex those decisions can no longer be made centrally by the Board of Regents.

"The present monolithic structure of governance inadvertently results in lost opportunities for the campuses," states the report "Modernizing Governance at the University of California." It was released Monday. "The situation calls for many elements of governance to be closer to the local level."

Under the plan, the Board of Regents would remain in charge of overarching policy matters such as admissions standards, state funding, negotiating union contracts, hiring chancellors and overseeing pension funds.

But decisions over tuition, out-of-state students, what construction projects to approve and some investments would devolve to the individual campuses. Tuition for undergraduate students would be set within ranges established by the regents while non-Californians and graduate students would be charged market value.

The proposal also calls for campuses to have the power to enroll more nonresidents as long as the UC system meets the goal of serving the top 12.5 percent of high school graduates in the state.

"It's like you have 10 children and each has different talents and challenges," Birgeneau told the Los Angeles Times ( "We need a system in which each of them receives the kind of attention they need."

UC President Mark Yudof said in a statement that he did not support the proposal in its current form. Robert Anderson, chairman of the system-wide faculty Senate, also opposed it, saying it would split the system apart and encourage campuses to fight for state money.

A UC commission has previously not endorsed a call for campuses to have more freedom to set tuition.

But experts say the plan could have more traction now because of state funding cuts and other challenges to the system.