According to the Public Policy Institute of California, California will have a shortfall of 1.1 million college graduates by 2030. In an op-ed published in The Sacramento Bee on February 15, 2018, CUMU Vice President Dr. Devorah Lieberman suggests that the state’s public institutions focus is too narrow and that California’s private nonprofit colleges and universities should be part of the solution.

She and her co-author state, private colleges ‘already award more than 20 percent of all undergraduate degrees and more than 50 percent of graduate degrees statewide. These schools have the capacity to serve more students, and are ready to forge partnerships with the public sector.’

“All of them rival our world-class public schools in academic excellence. They include small liberal arts institutions and nationally-ranked research powerhouses. Some offer faith-based, artistic, or non-traditional programs, while others specialize in business, law or medicine. And they are not exclusive enclaves for the wealthy, but represent the broad diversity of the communities they serve. About 40 percent are Hispanic Serving Institutions, and more than 80 percent are veterans-friendly Yellow Ribbon schools. At the University of La Verne and Simpson University, more than a third of students are the first in their families to attend college. On average, private schools are graduating students faster than public colleges, at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers and with comparable or less student debt.”

‘If we do not harness their combined strengths, we risk losing our students to other states and jeopardizing our long-term economic stability.’

Read the complete op-ed.

About the Authors: Devorah Lieberman is president of the University of La Verne (CUMU member) and chairwoman of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. Lieberman serves as vice president and treasurer of the CUMU executive committee. She can be contacted at Kristen Soares is president of AICCU and can be contacted at

Image credit: Sonia L. Garcia-Santa Cruz raises her degree during Fresno Pacific University’s spring commencement at Selland Arena in May 2016. The university is a member of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. Eric Paul Zamora