Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

Mark Yudof

Mark Yudof tools around dilapidated campuses and fixes them. As head of the University of Texas, he supported tuition deregulation, giving campuses the power to set fees. As the University of Minnesota's president, he secured record funding for research and renovated the campus. Last year he stepped into one of the toughest jobs in higher education, running the massive UC system in a nearly bankrupt state that was considering cutting its higher-ed funding 10%. Faced with a $1 billion budget gap, Yudof pleaded with faculty and staff to take unpaid furloughs — they agreed — and pushed through a 32% tuition hike over the next two years, calling these sacrifices an investment in the future. But even in tough times, Yudof's mantra is, Open doors. "I'm in the opportunity business," he says. That's why he rolled out a plan that provides grants to cover all the tuition for California residents with financial need whose family income is less than $60,000, and he's about to extend eligibility to students whose families make less than $70,000. So far, 48,000 of UC's 230,000 students are covered by Yudof's new plan, which is pretty good for a guy feeling squeezed. —Sophia Yan