When CED alumni reminisce about the invaluable opportunities their Berkeley education afforded them, they inevitably also mention the value. “When I was a student, my tuition was only about $600 a semester.” (It’s hard to believe this was in our lifetime.) While many students at the time still struggled to pay these seemingly meager fees, the challenge for students today is far more daunting.
Not only has the cost of attending UC Berkeley risen for undergraduates, more than doubling over the last 10 years from $7,798 to $17,370 per year, but also the level of available state support has decreased by nearly half, from 27% of UC Berkeley fiscal year revenues in 2007 to just 14% in 2017. Along with dramatic increases in Bay Area housing costs and the additional materials fees associated with a design education, today’s CED students face financial pressures like never before.
To help relieve this burden, CED has recently created a number of new philanthropic funds to provide support at the undergraduate and graduate level, thanks in no small part to generous contributions from CED Alumni and friends.
At the undergraduate level, three new programs are underway.
Modeled after a similar program established by Professor of Architecture, and City and Regional Planning Raymond Lifchez, the Undergraduate Professional Experience Award Fund will allow qualified students with a demonstrated financial need to participate in a summer internship experience within the environmental design field. Regardless of their financial situation, all students must contribute a minimum of $8000 per year toward their education which cannot be covered by grants, loans, or work study. This award gives students who normally would need to obtain a summer job anywhere they could find work, the opportunity to meet their $8K obligation and gain valuable experience related to their field. With this fund, CED hopes to provide more students with this type of valuable experience.
The Undergraduate Technology Assistance Fund is designed to fill another financial aid gap. Studio courses in architecture and landscape architecture require the purchase of supplies and materials which are not taken into account by the University when putting together students’ financial aid packages. Specifically targeted to serve Pell Grant recipients, this fund helps undergraduate students in their junior or senior year subsidize the cost of using CED computing and fabrication facilities. While the college has other programs to help students offset these costs, the demand for assistance is more than the resources available. With 38% of CED undergraduates receiving Pell grants — the highest percentage of all colleges at UC Berkeley — this fund will provide critically needed support.
Diversity is at the heart of providing a world-class educational experience that prepares students to address the challenges of a changing urban future. The Diversity Fund for Student Support will award both undergrad and graduate students in CED who have shown leadership or an outstanding record of service in promoting equitable solutions for disadvantaged populations and communities; or those with a demonstrated academic interest in topics such as race, gender, or other forms of social difference.
This year’s Big Give crowdfunding campaign on March 8, 2018, raised over $70,000 for the Diversity Fund for Student Support from alumni, students, staff, faculty, and friends. Our thanks go out to everyone who contributed including leadership donors (gifts of $1,000 and above): Fred Blackwell (MCP ‘96), Kofi Bonner (MCP ‘86, MArch ’87), Howard Chan (BArch ’99), Howard Friesen (BS ’50), Sylvia Kwan (BArch ’76, MArch ’78), Amy Hei-Mei Liao (BS ’88, MArch ’96), Bob Reyes (BArch ’70, MCP ’75), Carlos Rodriguez (BArch ’76, MArch ’78), and Lydia Tan (BArch ’83).
At the graduate level, Gregg Perloff (MCP ‘76) and Laura Perloff recently established the Perloff Family Fellowship, an endowment that will fully fund a doctoral fellowship in the Department of City & Regional Planning. Their extraordinarily generous $500,000 gift is being matched with an additional $500,000 from the William V. Power Match Program. This gift represents the first fully funded doctoral fellowship in the College and will help continue to attract talented students to CED.
Lastly, Daniel Iacofano (PhD Environmental Planning ’86) created two graduate awards in Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning through the Daniel Iacofano and Susan Goltsman Graduate Support Fund. The MIG/Susan Goltsman Award focuses on the design of children’s environments and inclusive urban design for social and economic equity. The MIG/Daniel Iacofano Award recognizes students who express an interest in inclusive design of streets or the public realm. As well as receiving financial support, fellowship recipients have the option to obtain expert advice and mentoring on a creative or research project from Daniel Iacofano and MIG staff.
“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has made contributions to support our undergraduate and graduate students – these gifts will make a difference in so many lives,” explained CED Assistant Dean Development + Alumni Relations Chris Glick. “Opportunities like these go a long way in easing the financial burden so many of our students face. They make it possible for us to open the doors of CED to a greater diversity of talent, ideas, and backgrounds. But even with this generous support, there are still students in need. We continue to look for new sources of funding to ensure that future generations are able to pursue careers in these fields with adequate resources as students and to graduate without the excessive burden of student loan debt.”
If you’d like to learn more about the CED Diversity Fund for Student Support and make a contribution, please visit: give.berkeley.edu/ced-diversity-fund