I think it's very important to convey our message to the people of California and I think they're the ultimate deciders, to use a phrase.
One message, of course, is that we do a heck of a job educating your sons and daughters and I think everyone really understands that. But, the truth is, in a state of 37, 38 million people, a relatively small proportion of the population is directly affected by the University in the sense that they work at the University, they get a paycheck, they have a member of the family there.
So we need to say, if you're interested in climate change and you're worried about it, we do that research. If you have a chronic disease, there are people working on that at UCLA, at San Francisco, at Davis to make your quality of life, your longevity, to improve all of that. If you're interested in the arts, our professors are the people leading the charge in terms of the humanities and the arts.
So we have to get across the message that even if you're not a direct beneficiary, if the University of California suffers, you will suffer. The jobs won't be created, the culture won't be as strong, the problems you're worried about fossil fuel, carbon footprint, all the rest of that the University of California helps Californians solve their pressing problems and if we're to get out of this current downturn, it's not going to occur exclusively because we've built more dams or highways or levees, as important as that may be. We're going to get out of it because we've built the infrastructure on our campuses, we've educated young people, they went out, they created companies, they had great ideas, they've created product lines, they did things that most of us can't even imagine and that's what's going to bring us out.
That's the difference between a developing country that does not have that sort of workforce and is struggling to make ends meet and the whole history of the University of California in the state of California.
So, what I'm trying to do is to say you have a great interest in how robust we are at the University of California, and that you should think twice before putting us on the chopping block and indeed we need more resources if we're to carry forward. And also to say we're going to have to think very hard about the way that we deliver our services and what it costs.
This will be a traumatic year. I apologize to the employees for that. We will fight for our budget, but it looks pretty grim when the state's $15 billion or more short. It's sort of hard for them to come up with another billion. We will explore other avenues, like federal assistance and so forth. But it's not going to be easy.
And I would have the same message to the students. There are some stark choices. The fees probably will go up; I don't know how much, but it's probable. If the fees don't go up, then their education will suffer there will be fewer sections of basic courses, we will not be filling faculty vacancies, there will be fewer services. There is no constant stage, there's no freeze frame of higher education that you could subtract through the sources and say, by the way, everything will be just like it was yesterday. I wish it were true, but it's not.
My biggest fear is that there are too many people who think of us as just another hungry mouth to feed. Too many people say you're just one more employer. But what we do really educates the next generation to do the great things that make California what it is today. So I would argue that we need to make that distinction. There really is a difference. We're not a garden variety type of enterprise, we're not a for-profit enterprise, we're an enterprise which is very closely associated with the future trajectory of the state of California. And it's my job to try to push that and push that.