UC students could face new round of fee hikes

Student fees may rise 6 percent unless state funding is increased. Double digit fee increase could come if November tax initiative fails

Mark Yudof, President of the University of California, and Sherry Lansing, Chairman of the Board of Regents converse at the September 2011 regents meeting.
Taryn Erhardt/File
Mark Yudof, President of the University of California, and Sherry Lansing, Chairman of the Board of Regents converse at the September 2011 regents meeting.

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UC students could see their tuition rise significantly if state funding does not increase and Gov. Jerry Brown’s November tax initiative fails, according to a newly released UC proposal to be discussed at next week’s UC Board of Regents meeting in Sacramento.

UC administrators say they would have to raise mandatory systemwide fees by 6 percent at their July meeting unless Brown allocates $125 million in additional funding to the university when he releases an updated state budget Monday.

Beyond that, UC students could face double-digit tuition increases in the fall if voters reject Brown’s fall tax-initiative and the UC is cut $200 million in the middle of the fiscal year.

The proposal comes as the board heads to the state capitol for their bimonthly meeting, hoping to drum up political support for the university ahead of the volatile summer budgeting process.

UC officials say that without tuition increases or increased funding from the state, the university will have to lay off workers, raise tuition and cut academic programs.  “The campuses are adamant that absorbing further cuts would mean ushering in a new era at UC — that of irreversible decline,” the report to the board states.

“The message that we are trying to get out is that the UC has been cut enough and now it is time to begin reinvesting in higher education,” said UC spokesperson Steve Montiel.

The financial outlook for the UC and the state, however, is not great. The tax revenue projections last year’s budget depended on have not materialized in the last few months, and Gov. Brown has promised more cuts.

And though student leaders acknowledge the university needs money, many have taken issue with the nature of the proposed 6 percent fee increase, which would raise tuition for in-state undergraduates by approximately $731. If the fee increase goes through, it will mean the university’s systemwide fees will have increased 95 percent in only five years, according to the report.

“I find it deeply problematic that they are holding students hostage,” said UC Student Regent-designate Jonathan Stein, who will begin his voting term at July’s meeting. “I reject the idea that we are now in this binary where we either get state money or we raise fees.”

The current student regent, Alfredo Mireles, Jr., said that while the UC needs funds to sustain itself, he wished it could look elsewhere for funding before turning to students.

“We need the money, but I don’t think it should come from students. It should come from Sacramento or we should find some internal ways to find another $100 million from students,” he said.

The summer fee increase would be necessary to make up for $326 million in cost increases set to hit the university in the next fiscal year, including millions for enrollment growth and retiree costs.

Some of the costs will be absorbed by the UC Office of the President and the systemwide efficiency initiatives. The fee increase or a “buy-out” by the state would help, but the university would still be left with a $139 million shortfall to be filled by individual campuses.

Montiel added that the university’s senior leadership has been meeting with state officials including Brown to hash out a multi-year funding plan that provides the university with more stable finances.

Until then, UC Regents, administrators and students will go to Sacramento next week to lobby for increased funding with the intention that the threats to the university’s quality will increase political and financial support.

“The failure to secure sufficient support for academic programs could have an unquantifiable impact on UC’s well-deserved reputation as the world’s finest public research higher education system,” the Regents’ propsal states.

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  • UC Admin Waste_of_life

    in other news: the administration continues to lie about funding the stadium renovation.
    The video, which just last year said that the stadium had been financed by private donations, has been removed from the campus website and replaced with a similar one omitting any reference to money.
    “I don’t know anything about that video,” said Mogulof who heads the school’s department of public affairs.

    • Matthew Weber

       They’ve been lying about the stadium since before it was built.  That’s nothing new.

      Cutting IA loose from the campus entirely and forcing it to live on its own receipts would be a start.

  • Calipenguin

    The reporter starts with “UC students could see their tuition rise significantly if state funding
    does not increase and Gov. Jerry Brown’s November tax initiative fails.”

    Why does he only mention taxation as a solution?  California could cut spending on public employee benefits and pensions, it could cut education for illegal aliens, and it could limit Cal Grants to public colleges only.  UC and CSU could require that all students pass Subject A before taking any other course, and UC should not waste money teaching remedial math courses.  We need to reserve our education dollars for serious students who are prepared for college.  Every time an unprepared student drops out, the financial aid California provided to him is wasted. 

  • Fail Abounds

    Commentator “1776” makes an ill-conceived appeal to the notion of ‘supply and demand’, revealing his or her own ignorance in the process.

    There are many more applicants than available spots, meaning there is much more demand than the system can fulfill.  Based on the desire to maintain high ‘selectivity’, ie making offers of acceptance to only a fraction of applicants, the UC has an interest in making sure supply and demand are never equal. Thus reduction in student loan availability or affordability will not lead to the UC decreasing the price such that supply meets demand.

    The idea that higher education is somehow an example of a(n) (nearly) ideal market is utter fallacy, and “1776” is appears to be unsophisticated.

    Politically (and socially) taxation in the State of California is problematic to the point of farce.
    CA spends more on prisons than higher education.
    CA requires a super-majority to raise property taxes.
    CA has significant oil production yet is the only state so described which does not have a tax on that activity for the express purpose of funding public education.

    Additional tax revenue is needed for public higher education in CA, at the same time public institutions of higher ed. in CA are horrendously mismanaged (UC and CSU at least). The neo-liberal economic idiocy embraced by the Regents and much of the state legislature necessarily throws a wrench into level headed discussion – let alone positive lasting change.

    • 1776

       What are you talking about. Are you trying to tell me that if we cut funding student loans the University would replace those lost students with students of lower caliber? Doubtful, only a small percentage of CA families can pay the prices anyway. Have you ever heard of capital flight? No I doubt it. Talk to small business owners or soon to be retired citizens. People are leaving the state, businesses are closing  and do you know why? Its because the cost of doing business and making money in California is too high. California is not a tax payer friendly state and people with money know that and setting up residences in Nevada and Arizona in unprecedented numbers.

      I’m not going to argue on prison spending and mismanagement because I think we can find some agreement, but do you know how much the state owes in future pensions. Its unbelievable. The state doesn’t have a tax problem, it has a spending problem. Sometimes the market has the answers to our problem, the government can’t solve everything

      • 1776

         I by not subsidizing loans I don’t mean get rid of them. Banks will just have to give loans to people they believe will pay them back

    • guest

      CA Spends more on VTA than higher education. I  have seen empty VTA Buses running around san jose ..

    • Guestabc

      We already pay a ridiculously high amount of taxes in California compared to the rest of the nation, what more do you want?

    • I_h8_disqus

      I will agree that taxation in California is to the point of farce.  However, I think this for possibly the opposite reason you do.  It is a farce, because taxation in the state is so high.  We are one of the highest taxed states, but we have one of the lowest ranked public education systems.  Additional tax revenue is not needed, because we have seen year after year how our high taxes have not created a better public education system.  Outside of a few UC schools and a dozen non-college level schools, our public school system is a mess from kindergarten to college.

      Additional tax revenue is not needed for public higher education.  Even if Brown’s initiative gets passed, the legislature is going to put the money to something wasteful instead of education.  Haven’t you learned over your time in school that the legislature hates education?  They take money from schools to spend on less important things like the high speed rail.

  • 1776

    The only way to bring down student loans is to stop subsidizing loans. If student couldn’t afford school than the UC would have to lower the cost. Taxing CA more will not solve the problem

    • 1776

       I mean student tuition

    • Guest

       You ARE taxing CA more by charging the students an extra $700 tax per year.

      How pissed would YOU be if your taxes went up 95% in 5 years? Yeah, you’d probably be occupying shit too.

      • 1776

        Tuition is not a tax

    • I_h8_disqus

      I don’t think making it harder for students to pay tuition will bring down fees.  The university has a glut of applicants.  It would just bring in less talented in state students who could pay, or more likely, the university will give up on its attempts to limit out of state students, and start increasing the percentage of out of state students it accepts.  So instead of 20% out of state enrollment, they boost it up to something like 50%, making the UC half privatized.