California today marks the 50th anniversary of the Master Plan for Higher Education, the blueprint that promised every qualified student the opportunity to go to college and find success.

One might say the state is “celebrating” the 50th anniversary, except there is nothing to celebrate. As Staff Writer Kerry Benefield reports today, qualified students now are being turned away from the University of California, while UC is doubling the number of out-of-state students.

That’s outrageous and unjust, you might say, and you would be right.

Out-of-state students are being given preference for a single reason. They pay higher tuition, three times more, or $33,000 a year.

Once upon a time, hundreds of thousands of young Californians – people like me – could receive a college education for a few dollars a semester because the architects of the Master Plan for Higher Education understood that world-class universities would become the engine for unprecedented prosperity.

My generation did not return the favor. The decline of public education in California is nothing less than a tragedy for a state that once believed in the future – and now spends its days bickering over who is to blame.

For students who want to attend the University of California, maybe the best solution is to move to Nevada.