UC Board of Regents approves 9.6 percent fee hike

Regent Norman Pattiz explained his decision to vote in favor of the tuition increase at the meeting.
Derek Remsburg/File
Regent Norman Pattiz explained his decision to vote in favor of the tuition increase at the meeting.

SAN FRANCISCO — Expressing disgust and sadness at placing an additional burden on students and families, the UC Board of Regents voted to approve a 9.6 percent fee increase at its meeting Thursday while at the same time calling for increased efforts by the UC community to demand that the state reprioritize higher education to avoid future cuts.

With only four opposing votes, the board voted to approve the increase in systemwide tuition and fees to be implemented for the coming fall semester as part of an effort to combat a $650 million reduction in state funding.

The four regents who voted against the tuition increase were Eddie Island, Student Regent Alfredo Mireles Jr., George Marcus and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The increase comes on top of an 8 percent hike approved last November, bringing annual tuition and fees for undergraduate California resident students to nearly $12,200. The increase was met with strong contention from students and workers from throughout the university.

“This is a sad day for the University of California,” said UC Student Association President Claudia Magana in a statement. “Once again, the Regents have refused to consider alternative options, and chosen the easy route of placing the entire burden on students and their families.”

At the start of the meeting, student leaders from multiple UC campuses as well as concerned academic student employees gathered and implored the board to consider the welfare of the students in its consideration of additional fee increases to combat repeated state cuts.

“I definitely understand the difficult challenge (the board members) face and the financial seriousness of this financial crisis, but the solution can’t be to hoist the cost on the back of our students. It’s just not a sustainable model,” said Bahar Navab, president of UC Berkeley’s Graduate Assembly. “We can’t expect students, especially grad students, to continually take out more and more loans.”

However, not all students will be required to pay the fee increases.

Under the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, students whose families have an income of under $80,000 have their tuition covered by grants and scholarships. Additionally, those students whose families make between $80,000 and $120,000 will not pay the increases for the first year they are effective.

At the meeting, many board members — including those who had voted to approve the hike — reiterated a sense of sadness and regret at having to approve the cuts.

In addition, board members emphasized the need to have UC officials, staff, workers and students unite to fight for an increased prioritization of education in the state.

“Like most of my fellow regents, I am greatly concerned and deeply saddened that the governor of our great state as well as the legislative leaders have placed such a low priority on supporting California colleges and universities,” said Regent Bonnie Reiss at the meeting.

When the UC received a $500 million cut from the state in late March, UC President Mark Yudof said the university could absorb the cut without raising student fees but that any additional cuts would mean fee hikes throughout the system.

But when the UC received an additional $150 million cut from the state when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state budget into law at the end of June, all bets were off the table.

That cut to the university is also compounded by $362 million in mandatory costs — such as the university’s retirement contributions, energy costs and health costs — which have resulted in an $862 million funding challenge for the university.

The additional $150 million cut passed in the state budget brought the UC’s overall budget shortfall to just over $1 billion. The 9.6 percent fee increase together with the 8 percent fee increase passed in November will bring in an additional $265 million in revenue, bringing the current budget shortfall for the system to roughly $747 million.

At the meeting, Newsom said that by raising fees yet again, the board would not be sending a message to the state Legislature regarding its “errant ways,” stating that the UC had “failed to do that for 20-plus years.”

“Ten years in a row we did exactly what the Legislature thought we were going to do, and we’re going to do it again this year. We’re going to get them out of hot water,” he said. “We’ve become predictable, and one thing I know about predictability is continue to do what you’ve done and you get exactly what you’ve got.”

Newsom added that rather than increase fees in response to yet another cut in state funding, the UC should address the issue of state funding for higher education “head-on in a different way than we’ve done in the past.”

According to Sherry Lansing, chair of the board, despite setbacks, the battle for the UC and the state’s higher education institutions will continue.

“It’s been a very difficult day today for all of us, and today we have to also move forward … to address the Legislature and address them in a united way with Cal State… (with) the community colleges, the students — we need your help very, very much — the staff and chancellors and all of us, and we will continue this battle,” she said at the close of the meeting.

Allie Bidwell and Aaida Samad are news editors.

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  • MegUstaPito

    **ATTN Narrator from video #1: It is not “at the university of San Fransisco’s Mission Bay campus! It is UC San Fransisco’s Mission Bay campus. Come on Daily Cal..!. :/ lame!

  • kurrimasta

    Public higher education and California in particular are under assault from the political empires greased with oil money ie. Texas. Time to rebuild public funding, and get an initiative on the ballot with constitutional force. Then we can see which legislators want to screw over the public at large.

  • Guest

    “Once again, the Regents have refused to consider alternative options,
    and chosen the easy route of placing the entire burden on students and
    their families.”

    I don’t think 25% constitutes “the entire burden.”  The Regents both considered and adopted alternative options.  Students have to accept some of the hardship.

  • Anonymous

    In the pic, the Cal kiddie is holding up a sign saying regents banking on student debt.

    Lol, your debt is being caused by Sacto Libs and Moonbeam. Libs have run Cali into the sheeter during the last decade. Keep voting for Libs and watch Cali become less friendly to business and give more resources away to illegals and other dead Enders.

  • Anonymous

    …while at the same time, The statehouse is voting to allow illegal aliens access to private sources of funding for education in CA universities. Hope you like paying higher tuition; illegal aliens believe it is their RIGHT. Hundreds of US citizens will not be able to attend college in CA because they will cRer to the illegal aliens. Something here is bass-ackward.

    • Guest

      “allow illegal aliens access to private sources of funding”
      If the providers of privately funded scholarships choose to allow foreign students to apply for them, what business is it of the legislature’s?  The real political struggle will be over AB131, not this one.

  • UC needs to reduce financial aid.  The “Blue and Gold” program is no longer sustainable.  Yes it’s unfortunate, but it’s the cold hard truth.  Lower income students need to take out student loans or find another way to pay for their higher education.

    • Clee Torres

      Yeah! Damn lower income students always ruining everything with their sad stories about not being able to afford college. Boo hoo! I say we make them work more jobs, give them less time to study and still expect them to comepete with the real Berkeley student who’s familiy avrages 100k a year. Oh, and LOANS! For sure! Give them more loans so that they can graduate and pay it all back with their awesome jobs that they are going to get based on having so much work experience at the GBC or Crossroads! We need more people like you Captain Morgan…you should be the chancellor.

      I mean COME ON! This is the University of California!*

      *California is a reference to individuals who can afford the fee increase(s) over the past decade; and or the now 20% non-California residents at Cal. This statement is not inclusive of any resident of California who is excited when March 2nd rolls around. If you know what March 2nd is…then this University is not for you : )


  • Get Informed

    You all have your heads in the sand.  To keep UC accessible and affordable, the citizens of California need to pay more and more, not less and less.  If not, well, see what’s happening?

    All this idiocy about high salaries and underworked employees couldn’t possibly solve the magnitude of the problem that the citizens of California created themselves.

    • Anonymous

      You are right, the peeps of Cali created this situation by voting for Libs.

      • Guest

        Libs?  You mean like all those Republican governors?

  • Anonymous

    Cal kiddies:

    Welcome to the real world result of over 20 years of Lib bloated mal government in Sacto. This has made Cali one of the most over regulated, least business friendly states. Throw in hundreds of millions of dollars spent on illegals and you have a failing state.

    Keep voting for Libs and watch the state continue to slide down the sheeter.

    • BC

      berkeley is the #1 public university in the world you moron. we invented computers, run most computer, tech, web film, tv, entertainment companies. If you want to sit alone in silence at home with no internet and tv, fine, rot away without the worlds 6th largest economy (california) propping your fat ass up

  • Anonymous

    UC Berkeley pays people to stay at home and take care of their young children and work side contracts. Why not cut that 10% from staff, and use the money to stop raising our tuition and fees, and retain faculty?   Why should the other 90% of the staff and student staff carry these people’s economic burden? Plenty of parents show up to work.

    Telecommuting is not green either. Driving a few days a week from deep in the burbs isn’t saving any carbon. Heating and cooling your home office all day is killing the planet. Living further from work only paves over a few more greenhouse reducing fields with suburban sprawl. And because you didn’t bother to live close to work and find alternative means of transportation…the parking garages are full and outrageously expensive. I am buried in debt. I want excellence in the UC. We all realize there are budget issues, but the overpaid management needs to do its part too.

    • Guest

      “Why not cut that 10% from staff, and use the money to stop raising our tuition and fees”
      Because that wouldn’t save nearly enough to stop the rise in tuition.  Staff has already been cut substantially more than 10%, but the legislature has cut our budget far more than that.  If you don’t like parental leave or telecommuting, talk with a supervisor or ombudsman.

      • Sara

        Parental leave is fine. Watching your children three days a week on the government dime is not. Take a sick day or one of your days from your four or five weeks of paid vacation.   What on earth would the ombudsman do to stop government waste, refer you to HR? There are 7000 staff members so what exactly can on supervisor do? Plenty of parents show up to work an honest day; why should certain staff get a free ride?   No, cutting 10% of the staff might only save 70 million a year, not enough to compensate for the stage budget cuts which are unfortunate. However, I also cannot really advocate in this case for the state government to raise taxes when so many staff are attending grad school, taking care of their children, and working side jobs while they are “working” at home.   The UC needs to police itself on this so that it can argue honestly about that past and impending budget cuts. Yes, layoffs seem inevitable and a good place to start is by tightening the lax telecommuting rules to allow for voluntary separation for anyone that can’t stand an honest day at the office.  It will likely save the job of some honest person in some other department who can fill the vacancy.

  • Tuition hikes for US citizens, and ……..