After a decision from the governing body of the University of California system, the Anderson School of Management has announced that it will transition its MBA program to a fully self-supported model. The idea of privatizing the school has been on the table for a number of years now, with Dean Judy Olian campaigning to cut state funding to give the administration greater autonomy. The Financial Times reports that even though the school will be able to raise the cost of tuition more easily without having to answer to California legislators, the hope is that this shift will make the tuition rate more predictable for students (previously, students did not know the price of tuition until just weeks before classes began). As Olian argues, establishing the school’s financial independence may entice alumni and philanthropic donors to “step up to the plate,” thereby making long-term financial planning easier for administrators.
Following in the footsteps of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business—which also cut its state funding—Anderson will need to seek out new sources of support. However, critics of the decision have pointed out that the switch to private funds may lead the school away from its public mission.