Summer Sessions nonresident tuition fees could rise

Carryn Barker reads her notes in Pimentel Hall. Barker and other nonresidents could be affected by certain summer fee increases.
Taryn Erhardt/Senior Staff
Carryn Barker reads her notes in Pimentel Hall. Barker and other nonresidents could be affected by certain summer fee increases.

A long-standing state subsidy allowing nonresident University of California students to pay resident fees for summer courses may be in jeopardy as uncertainty about California’s state budget continues to loom.

For nearly a decade, nonresidents have been spared the out-of-state and international tuition fees that students are normally subject to  pay during the school year. But as possible further cuts to the UC continue to be discussed, these fees might be reinstituted or reformed.

In 2001, nonresident fees for UC Summer Sessions were eliminated in hopes of attracting more out-of-state and international students to attend a  UC campus during the summer.

As a result of the tuition changes — in addition to changes to curriculum, teaching staff and publicity — attendance at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara Summer Sessions increased by 56 percent that year while the other five UC campuses saw a 26 percent increase. These percentages did not include UC Merced, which was not instated until fall 2005.

In accordance with this data, a task force composed of university officials recommended in 2008 that UC Berkeley’s summer nonresident fees be kept constant. The task force suggested that increasing nonresidents’ fees might “slow down their progress to a degree” or cost millions in lost revenue.

UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez said despite summer classes’ important role helping more students finish their degrees in four years, they are still subject to change because of budget concerns.

“We want to incentivize students to take summer sessions so that it frees up space during the year,” he said. “But as (the UC has) said before, just in terms of what kind of budget we end up with, all options have to be on the table.”

During the academic year, nonresidents pay a supplemental fee to attend a UC campus — about $23,000 more per year than California residents.

But for summer classes, a uniform price of $343 per unit means that for students taking a 12-unit schedule, both residents and nonresidents will find themselves paying about $4,200 for summer tuition at UC Berkeley.

Motivations to bump up nonresident admissions can be attributed in part to a UC Commission on the Future report presented to the UC Board of Regents in December 2010, which showed that a 1 percent increase in out-of-state attendance could generate nearly $1 million in additional revenue.

Summer Sessions are not the only area in which the UC is hoping to increase out-of-state and international resident attendance. In total, the UC’s nine campuses admitted 4,100 more students for the 2011-12 year than in 2010-11 — for a total of 72,432 — with 3,600 of those spots going to international or out-of-state students.

About one-third of students accepted to UC Berkeley this fall are nonresidents, nearly double last year’s figures.

According to Hans Johnson, a senior policy fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, the UC will continue to attempt to increase nonresident attendance.

Johnson added that regardless of budget cuts, the UC will continue to tout its status as a top research university to offset a possible drop in attendance as a result of fee increases.

“The university is looking for new sources of funds wherever they can find them, and if they can still attract students from out of state (while raising summer fees), there is no doubt there is money being left on the table,” he said.