For more than 220,000 students attending the 10 University of California schools, higher education may mean higher fees in the near future.
The UC Regents continued their three-day meeting today with a discussion about raising tuition fees to balance a budget reduction from the state of $650 million for the 2011-12 school year. The UC system also faces an additional $362.5 million in unfunded mandatory cost increases, according to the finance committee.
UC President Mark Yudof is recommending that 26.3 percent of the more than $1 billion budget shortfall projected for next academic year be offset by tuition and fee increases. Rates would be hiked by 9.6 percent, on top of a previously approved 8 percent increase also scheduled for the fall. The new rates would mean an increase of $1,818 from the 2010-11 figure, bringing the total cost of system-wide undergraduate tuition for California residents to $12,192 plus campus fees averaging $1,026. The total cost for an undergraduate to attend a UC campus would be around $31,000 annually, including room, board and books.
To cover the remaining 73.7 percent of the budget shortfall, UC Regents are considering cost-cutting and revenue-generating measures, including increasing administrative efficiency, streamlining financial management, expanding online education, reducing resident enrollment and increasing non-resident enrollment, among other strategies outlined in the budget report.
The full meeting agenda and packets are available online through the University of California website.
An op-ed in the Sacramento Bee by Kyle Daley and Ian Magruder states that increased fees are "hard to swallow" for students and families who entered the UC system when the rates were lower.
"Students and families made calculated spending, savings and employment decisions based on assumptions for the cost of college that no longer hold true," write Daley and Magruder. Some students may be forced to drop out, which is "the cruel reality of the current policies."
Rather than risk losing students, the authors suggest a way to balance the scale: locked-in tuition. Read the full article here.
For real-time updates from the UC Regents meeting, follow UC Berkeley's Daily Californian on Twitter.
UC Berkeley student Darion Wallace told KTVU that her low-income family don't have the money to support a fee increase. "I'll have to make up that money on my own,” she said.
"This is not the first round of cuts we've faced in the ongoing fiscal crisis," said Yudof in the statement. "We have been engaged in a three-year exercise in coping with wholesale cutbacks, and by now the magic bullets all have been spent. What this reduction most likely would mean, as the governor noted, is the need to yet again raise tuition."