Breaking down the UC tuition increase policy

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Rachael Garner/File

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On Wednesday, the UC Board of Regents is set to discuss a controversial tuition hike policy that proposes to link student tuition to the level of state funding the university receives.

In recent weeks, the tuition increase policy has been criticized by state officials, students and some faculty members alike for what it proposes to do — and for what some call a lack of transparency to the public with regard to its formulation and announcement. The university has said the policy offers a stable and predictable tuition plan for students and their families — and is an option the university had to consider in the wake of state disinvestment.

The tuition increase policy comes at a time when the university has seen a dramatic decline in state funding. Current funding for the university from the state is $460 million less than what it was eight years ago despite the enrollment of more students.

As the regents head into their board meeting, they are set to discuss a number of financial issues such as approving the 2015-16 budget and looking at the long-term financial planning of the university.

But for many, the focus of Wednesday’s meeting will be whether or not the board will pass the tuition increase policy. Below are some details to understand the proposed policy.

Who are the regents?

The UC Board of Regents is the independent governing body of the University of California. It has full powers in the organization and governance of the university, and it meets six times per year to discuss the future of the university, policy, funding and budgeting, among other topics.

The board itself consists of 26 voting members — 18 are appointed by the governor, one is a student regent and the remaining seven members are ex officio, meaning they hold the position by virtue of holding another office. For example, the ex officio members include the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the state Assembly.

regents.july2013.2-900x598Currently, there are 16 appointed regents, seven ex officio regents, and the student regent is UC Berkeley alumna Sadia Saifuddin. But Gov. Jerry Brown appointed two new regents to the board Monday —  John A. Perez, state Assembly speaker emeritus, and Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the superintendent-president of Long Beach City College.

University officials have said the board has been largely supportive of the policy. But that might change, considering the two new regents Brown appointed — who must still be approved by the state Senate, yet can sit on the board in the meantime — who may express dissent.

What exactly is the tuition policy? How much will 2015-16 tuition cost?

UC President Janet Napolitano introduced the policy as a five-year plan for predictable tuition increases. Essentially, tuition and systemwide fees will increase by up to 5 percent per year for all students, assuming the state increases its funding to the university at 4 percent increases each year.

This brings 2015-16 in-state systemwide fees to $12,804 from $12,192. In the hypothetical situation that the state continues the increases for the next five years, in-state systemwide fees could be $15,564 in 2019-20.

But there could be no tuition increase — or less of a tuition increase — if the state provides more than those percentage increases. Conversely, there could be higher increases if the state provides increases at a lower level than expected.

Who does it affect?

Students who receive financial aid will continue to pay the same amounts they currently do. This is because roughly one-third of the revenue garnered from the tuition increase would go back to financial aid. More than half of UC students have their systemwide fees fully covered by aid. The university estimates that roughly 30 percent of students would foot the full price — those who do not receive financial aid, in other words.

That being said, the tuition increase policy will raise about $459 million in additional funds, and $73 million of that will go back to financial aid. The university says this policy will also allow it to enroll at least 5,000 more California students.

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What is the state’s plan?

The policy clashes with how the governor envisions the state will fund the university. In a compact with the university, Brown has said the state will keep increases at those 4 percent levels if tuition remains frozen, as it has for the past three years. Brown is expected to appear at the regents meeting Wednesday, where he will likely express his dissent. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins and Perez have also expressed their dissent.

Where does the money go to?

The revenue will go to meeting retirement contributions, employee health benefits, compensation, enrollment growth, academic quality investment and deferred maintenance.

What is tuition? What do students pay for?

Technically, the sticker price of college is a little more complicated than just tuition. Students pay for tuition and a student services fee, which make up systemwide fees. Tuition — formerly referred to as the educational fee — can be used for the UC operating budget and go to costs of instruction. The student services fee is used to support programs that benefit students and are complementary to the instructional program.

Follow The Daily Californian at @dailycal on Twitter to receive live updates. Staff writers Sophie Ho, Daniel Tutt, Jean Lee, Bo Kovitz, Sahil Chinoy, Adrienne Shih and Suhauna Hussain will also be tweeting.

Sophie Ho is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @sophanho.

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  • You Ain’t No Sanjaya

    When the States reduce funding to these State Universities, how many administrators take a pay cut or get layed off? Is the burden carried entirely by students in the form of increased fees and adjunct faculty in the form of more chores at a pay level of 3,000-4,000 per class?

  • Guest

    How can a middle class college student who does not qualify for financial aid afford a $15,000 to $20,000 a year college? Working 20 hours a week at $9 / hr. Take home net at about 70%, that is $7056 a year for a part-time work. That is impossible. Government loan is limited. Parents get by feeding the middle-class family from paycheck to paycheck. Only the poor, the illegals and the rich can afford college. It did not used to be this way. College used to be free.

    College is a societal investment and every citizen should invest in free education. Then those citizens who benefited from free education will pay back later through taxes to help the next generation. It is a cycle of life. The taxpayers should pay for college based on INCOME.These individuals benefited from college whether they graduated or not. They made a ton of money because of college education and they need to pay back through taxes so the next generation can go to college and earn money like they do.

    This type of college payment structure has created a huge income gap. The children of the middle class families cannot afford to go to college so they become uneducated and poor. The poor and illegals have free college so they move up. The rich get richer. Therefore, there is this big income gap between the rich and the poor like in the third world countries. This is very wrong. Children of the middle class are getting the short end of the stick and they cannot afford to go to a public university at all.

    • Guest

      The USA is not a third-world country where there is a huge income gap between the rich and the poor. Taxpayers should pay for the public college education for the good of society so the cycle of jobs continue to move from generation to generation. Therefore, those low-paying jobs meant for teenagers do not become career jobs for the uneducated adult workers. Everyone needs to move up in their career so the teens and young adults can take over the lower-paying jobs. THIS IS FOR THE GOOD OF THE SOCIETY. Workers cannot move up and progress if they cannot afford a college education especially the children of the middle-class families who cannot afford to go to a public university at all.

      Tax the people including the illegals with their foreign money stashed in their own countries:
      Less than $15K income tax at 0%
      $15K – $30K income tax at 5%
      $30K – $50K income tax at 10%
      $50K – $75K income tax at 15%
      $75K – $100K income tax at 20%
      $100K-$200K income tax at 25%
      $200K – $500K income tax at 30%
      $500K – $1 million income tax at 35%
      $1-2 million income tax at 40%
      $2-5 million income tax at 45%
      $5-10 million income tax at 50%
      $10-$20 million income tax at 55%
      $20-$50 million income tax at 60%
      $50-$100 million income tax at 65%
      $100 million – $1 billion income tax at 70%
      $1 billion – $10 billion income tax at 75%
      over $10 billion income tax at 80%

  • Guest

    The state should fire everyone in the UC, CSU, and CCC, then create a new salary/benefits structure that is fair. Then have people start applying again. No taxpayer has approved of paying a public employee over half a million dollars of salary/benefits each year. The one and only way the excessive salary, pension and benefits abuses can be totally eliminated is to start over. Reagan did it with the air traffic controllers and fired them all. Much of the additional 30% which are student fees added on top of the tuition are for the club-ification of the public universities. They have turned public universities into country club memberships. The children of the middle class families cannot afford to go to the public universities. You are completely SHUTTING OUT the middle class students! Only the poor, illegals and the rich can go to a public university. CHILDREN OF MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES HAVE NO HOPE IN LIFE BUT TO LIVE IN POVERTY BECAUSE THEY CANNOT AFFORD COLLEGE. THEY HAVE ZERO FUNDING. ZERO. NONE. ZIP. NADA. ZERO. THEY HAVE TO GET IT FROM WORKING FULLTIME. THEY HAVE TO BECOME POOR AND IN POVERTY FIRST SO THEIR NEXT GENERATION CHILDREN CAN ATTEND COLLEGE. THEY GO FROM MIDDLE CLASS TO UNEDUCATED POOR PEOPLE LIVING IN POVERTY.

  • Aaron Ant

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    to school in Austria for FREE!!! Austria does not charge Americans tuition for their bachelor or masters degrees. They even offer a few undergraduate and graduate degrees in English at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria.

    It’s only free if you plan on getting your degree from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria and does not apply towards the exchange student program.

    Bachelor’s degree programs are 3-years and Master’s degree programs are 2-years.

    International degree seeking students: http://www-en.fh-ooe.at/international/international-degree-seeking-students/

    Scholarships: http://www.grants.at/home/EN/

    The University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria: http://www-en.fh-ooe.at/

    YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV4RNN1vfE4#t=27

    Depending on the time of year, one-way tickets are about $1,000.00 from SFO to Salzburg. https://www.google.com/flights/#search;f=SFO;t=SZG;d=2015-08-01;r=2015-08-01;tt=o;mp=1000;mc=m

    Living costs breakdown below: https://www.oead.at/index.php?id=504&L=1

    Accommodation costs (including heating and electricity) € 310

    Food (excluding luxuries and tobacco) € 220

    Study and personal requirements, books, culture, recreation € 270

    TOTAL € 800

    The English degree programs are limited, but if you speak German or can acquire command of the language, there are a lot more programs available.

    Austria is a small country but conveniently located within Europe, so travelling to other countries is easy.

    Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons…