Tuition increase policy passed by regents committee

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Rachael Garner/Staff

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SAN FRANCISCO — A committee of the UC Board of Regents, the university’s governing body, approved a tuition increase plan 7 to 2 despite large on-site student protests, which included at least one arrest, and opposition by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The plan will raise tuition by at least 5 percent per year for five years, with a chance for the state to reduce or eliminate the increase through additional funding. The plan will be officially passed during a vote Thursday — which is more of a formality — when the regents as a whole approve all of the committee actions in one vote.

This would be the first time in three years tuition would increase.

“I feel as though the quality of my education has been decreasing, but I’m paying more,” said Anbareen Shefa, a fifth-year environmental studies major at UC Santa Barbara who was protesting outside the meeting. “It’s really sad that they decided to put it on the students to have to fix this deficit.”

If passed, resident systemwide fees in 2015-16 will increase by $612, from $12,192 to $12,804. The plan would also have the university enroll at least 5,000 more in-state students and 2,000 more nonresident students over the next five years.

“This is a plan that is integral not only to the stability, but also to the vitality, of the University of California,” said UC President Janet Napolitano at the meeting.

A number of students called for Napolitano’s resignation during the public comment section of the meeting, chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, Napolitano’s got to go.”

Napolitano proceeded to explain how the university needs to have a long-term financial plan that would provide growth for California student enrollment, maintain robust financial aid coverage and reinvest in academic programs, rather than working on a year-to-year financial plan. This plan is necessary particularly in the context of “massive state disinvestment,” she said.

“While our commitment to cost-cutting continues,” Napolitano said, “the plain fact is that tuition must now be back on the table.”

Brown interrupted the debate with a proposal of his own: that the regents shelve the issue until January and at that time begin a joint committee with the state Department of Finance to try to find “better” solutions and curve costs.

The committee would be staffed by the “best minds” from both the university and the Department of Finance, Brown said. It would consider a major overhaul of how the university works, including working on pathways for three-year graduations, implementing consistent lower-division major requirements across UC campuses and offering a wide range of online classes that would be enrolled far beyond the limits of a traditional classroom.

The committee would also look at expanding the opportunities to get credit through work or military experience and delineating the ways in which different campuses interact to differentiate each campus over time.
“Because it’s so hard to create change in complex institutions, sometimes the pressure of not having enough money can force creativity that hasn’t even been considered,” Brown said.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said that under the traditional model of university education, more funds for the university would be necessary. But he said the governor was asking for changes to be made to this traditional model.

The regents and Napolitano were receptive to the idea of the joint venture, but Napolitano said the vote was not something that could be put off. UC Student Association President Jefferson Kuoch-Seng criticized the lack of student involvement in the governor’s proposed committee.

“What we’re doing cannot be kicking the can down the road,” said Regent Norman Pattiz.

The committee passed the proposal, with only Brown and Student Regent Sadia Saifuddin voting no. During the vote, protesters stood up and shouted, trying to drown out the proceedings.

“I thought the students were incredibly respectful under the circumstances. That was hardly raving protests, and they expressed themselves appropriately,” Newsom said in an interview with media. “They weren’t part of this process, and they felt dismissed. And they were.”

Saifuddin did not support either the governor or Napolitano, saying the university should neither compromise its model of being a four-year, classroom-based institution nor compromise affordability for students.

“Students have been bussed up from all 10 campuses and are standing outside right now,” Saifuddin said. “Amongst all of this political posturing and drama, I think you need to understand the real effect this has on students.”

Brown not only presented a different vision of what the university could be but also said the university had the funds to sustain itself, pointing to a growth in core funds of about $1.5 billion since 2007-08.

But Nathan Brostrom, the chief financial officer of the university, said that when one subtracts new financial aid costs, the recently renewed contributions to the UC pension system and extra money that returns right back to the state in order to pay off state bonds, university general funds have fallen by about 13 percent per student in real dollars over the same years.

The two regents appointed by Brown on Monday did not support the tuition plan but were not on the committee that voted Wednesday.

“UC already has a solution if we don’t give them any money — they’re just going to put it on the back of students,” said John Perez, state Assembly speaker emeritus and appointed regent. He is still waiting to be confirmed by the state Senate.

The regents also approved a report to the governor, which gave an example of what may have to be cut if the university didn’t have the additional funding from either tuition or the state. To maintain financial aid and investments in academic quality, the plan detailed a reduction in California enrollment by more than 15,000 students, to be replaced by nonresidents.

Contact Daniel Tutt and Jean Lee at [email protected].

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  • Gurwant

    THIS IS HORRIBLE!!!! HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT US TO SUFFER TO GET A GOOD EDUCATION!?

  • OOS_family

    What will be the tuition change for out of state students?

  • RCam

    its to help pay for all the undocumented that Brown said…Come on in we will take care of all your needs….and the Dream act……this is where the increase of student enrollment is coming from…..its easy to spend other peoples tax money to befit their agendas…..I was a life long hard liberal up to 4 years ago…started getting involved and really saw what is going on….also the more the GOVT gives to the schools and the students in loans the more the colleges raise up fees and salaries…..which you have to pay back……

  • Angie Castaneda

    This is exactly what the people in power want. More money! And who has money and can actually afford to attend a UC? FOREIGNERS! They want less of our own citizens to attend college because that would leave room for international students, whom can afford it. And if that wasn’t actuality why is it that foreigners have a higher percentage of admission?

  • abernahi

    College education is becoming increasingly irrelevant in today’s job market. This isn’t helping.

  • Kevin O’Neill

    If you’re upset that tuition is going up, call your state representatives, and ask them to put more money into the University. Even if we could find a great way to cut costs, that’s a one time fix, whereas getting consistent funding from the state is a more long-term fix.

  • abernahi

    The Sunday SF Chronicle had an article about the fact that UC has refused to release information about how money is spent. For instance, does the money collected from undergraduates all go to educating undergraduates, etc… UC is kind of like the CIA. They get a budget and do NOT have to reveal how they spend it.

  • jbbj

    Need to dissolve the board of rejects, they are just leaches and send napoo onto another greedy failed career path.

  • Janine

    I was so close to transferring to UCD but a CSU is starting to sound really good at this point.

    • http://twitter.com/son_of_guy son_of_guy

      overall, it’ll be an extra $1-3k for you, depending on if you take 2 or 3 years, how much state funding is finally given, and how much financial aid you get.

      Not that massive of a difference. Just look at the numbers and see if it’s worth it for you.

  • Beloved Misty Chue

    No! This is never going to improve!

  • Julie Tran

    TL;DR for the rest of my post: Gov. Jerry Brown is the enemy here since he has consistently vetoed UC budget increases at the state level multiple times, along with every other politician who has voted against increasing UC tuition. Basically, the state slashed the budget by $2 billion for UCs, which is 30% of the state’s budget for education, while the state’s budget for prisons has increased by that same 30%.

    Read the following, posted previously by Jonathon Abboud, UCSB’s student president last year, who is still active in the UC system politics. This is regarding a recent board meeting:

    “1. I agree that the UC is essentially playing the students (and their parents) as a bargaining chip against the state Legislature and Governor for more money. The state has indeed given the UC two 5% budget increases and two 4% increases, but those effectively cover inflation, not allowing the UC to restore funding for faculty to teach smaller classes and for more students (more on this in point 2 and 3). It is shitty the UC is taking students hostage, but really the state is giving the UC system the leftover bread crumbs of the budget and as a result we suffer through decreased class availability, less services (especially in Student Affairs), and less open seats for future students. We made Prop 30 pass in 2012 and the state is not giving us enough of the pie.

    2. In 1960 the people of California and the state recognized the need for higher education and guaranteed it to the top 12.5% of High School students at the UC, top 33% at the CSU, and everyone at the CCs. Due to MASSIVE state disinvestment from the UC system *****The UC has lost a total of $2 billion over the past 2 decades***** the UC and CSU have been unable to meet this part of the covenant made with the tax payers of the state, according to Assemblymember Das Williams we have CUT out 32,000 potential students from their right to an education and this will be ONE MILLION BY 2025. Let that number sink in. We have less money, adjusted for inflation, today than we did in 1990 and a much larger population of students to educate.

    3. The UC’s tuition increase plan is **supposed** to go towards A) Funding 5,000 more students at the UC system B) Financial Aid C) More faculty to reduce class sizes and number of classes. I think we can all agree these are all good and actually essential. We need to educate more people as the state grows in order to continue having the #1 economy in the county. We need financial aid to help people who cannot pay. We need smaller classes to learn more effectively and more classes so we can graduate in 4 years. As a side note, many complain about some inefficient or strange use of funds on campus specifically, while many are valid it is important to note that Tuition and State dollars do not go towards things like Housing – the cost of housing is wholly 100% separate from those other funding streams.

    4. Now shifting gears towards what people call administrative bloat and the contradiction of increasing Chancellor pay while also going out for the increase. This is an easy one to get stuck on that doesn’t actually solve the problem at hand. Yes, the UC spends far too much money on salaries for top level earners. UCOP has lawyers making $200,000 while the state has equivalent lawyers making $70,00. HOWEVER: Cutting these costs is a MINUSCULE amount when we look at the STATE DISINVESTMENT of Higher Education. If we cut administrative costs by let’s say $50 million, we wouldn’t even put a dent in the money we need to educate California’s students, which is $100 MILLION over FIVE YEARS = $500 MILLION (so 10%). This is an easy one to latch on to and the Governor would love for you because it removes the blame the state deserves for not funding the UC system.

    5. Now to lay further blame on the state. Governor Jerry Brown would rather the UC EXPAND CLASS SIZES and GO FULLY ONLINE (compromising the QUALITY of the education) instead of give it a budget increase. He VETOED a $50,000,000 increase only 2 months ago. I think everyone needs to remember always that it was the STATE that cut the UC by $2 BILLION. Yes the UC can be more efficient in how it spends money, but there is a clear lack of responsibility from STATE and it has basically succeeded in making the UC the bad person in this situation and itself the good person. The state is NOT THE GOOD PERSON. Please do not be blinded by lofty comments by state politicians against the tuition increase (Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, Speaker Atkins) – WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN IN INCREASING FUNDING FOR THE UC?????? Politicians will take any opportunity they get to look better without actually solving the problem and they’re doing it now.

    6. Last thing is how critical having a well funded UC is. It allows us to educate far more students, which in the past has proven to bring California to prosperity and make it a leader in the WORLD ECONOMY. Further, if we fund the UC the issue of students needing to work while going to school or taking out loans becomes nonexistent. Those two issues WOULD NOT EXIST IF THE STATE FULLY FUNDED THE UC SYSTEM. Think about that, there would be no student loan crisis if California and other states simply funded their higher education systems fully. Tuition only exists as a backfill for state disinvestment. In Germany, the government pays for ALL costs which translates to free tuition.

    My point is simply we cannot get in bed with the state just because they seem to be our friends by opposing the 5 year tuition plan.The state is the real enemy to put it bluntly. As much as I respect Jerry Brown, he is the one screwing over the UC system. Giving us money only for inflation related costs and not restoring the $2 billion cut over the past years is STARVING THE BEAST. He is essentially employing the same strategy the 1994-2006 Republican Party used to wipe out government social services. At the end of the day the UC Regents are dealt a hand by the state and the state has dealt some extraordinary shitty hands. I suggest you EMAIL/CALL GOVERNOR BROWN in support of increased funding for the UC – tuition didn’t even exist as a concept until the state started reducing its funding of UC.

    (916) 445-2841 – JERRY BROWN’S OFFICE
    https://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php – EMAIL

    Plan in question:http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/…/long-term-stability…

  • Superdust

    How about slashing the regents absurd salaries? Millions of dollars a year! And now queen napdog wants a new mansion.

    • Shannon Muir

      Regents don’t get paid.

      • Asja

        The management-only budget for the system, according to their own
        records, is $587 million. Yes, million – half a billion dollars. Find it
        here http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/minutes/2013/fin7.pdf.

        • Alec

          Regents are not management. The statement made by Shannon still stands: Regents are not paid.

    • http://twitter.com/son_of_guy son_of_guy

      None of the regents get salaries…

      If you’re angry, make sure to learn the issues first. The issue with salaries is with upper management (think of chancellors and vice chancellors) and even more so the growing proportion of administrative positions in relation to professor and students.

      The “mansion” is also not a major issues. The UC owns the estate (called Blake Garden) with the mansion near Berkeley but hasn’t maintained it in years. They want to renovate it to preserve it as a historic building and also to use it as a venue for fundraising and other official events. Most of the estate is actually a public park you can visit.

      • Superdust

        Semantics brah. Regents raises compensation for administrators while increasing enrollment AND tuition!

        And yes these mansions are an issue. Why should every chancellor get a mansion? It seems our university system exists mostly to enrich the admins and politicians.

        • http://twitter.com/son_of_guy son_of_guy

          Not really semantic, brah. There’s a sizeable difference between taking the money for yourself vs mismanaging it.

          Again, there already is a mansion and it was donated to the UC. We’ve had it for decades, but haven’t taken care of the building. They want to use the building, so they have to fix it up. The purpose of having an “official residence” is not the same as just giving out random mansions.

          Also you just went from talking about the President’s residence to the Chancellors’. I do hope you know those are different.

          • Superdust

            every UC chancellor has their own on-campus mansion. the administrators determine how money and funding is distributed. they are responsible for all the wasted money earmarked for non-academic functions for the purpose of attracting students.

            UC expenses have sky-rocketed well beyond necessity. UCB budget is over THREE BILLION DOLLARS. Is that not enough to educate 30,000 students?

            UC spends enormous amounts of money on research-related programs to get government grants. i think UCB gets 30% of its budget from grants alone.

            more money is also spent to achieve a higher college ranking, which is irrelevant for undergrads because it only represents graduate-level education. i know my UCB spends tens of millions of dollars just to keep a handful of nobel prize winners affiliated with our school.

            if we start enumerating the costs for the soft sciences, it isnt remotely worth 13,000+ a year. have u walked into a lecture and left feeling like it was worth $100? of course not.

            costs have increased but quality continues to nose-dive. admins r not acting in the interests of students. apologists for regents in this article ignore the fact that budget procedure is not organized by the state. it is internally managed by the UC system. so they get to say x, y z will cost this much and it must be funded. even if it only benefits a a tiny minority of students, or no one at all.

            plus the money raised for empty buildings years ago. or the money wasted on UC merced.

            the problem IS management. NOT jerry brown.

  • Alexandro José Gradilla

    Who voted against????

  • http://mitar.tnode.com Mitar

    Students, if you have any stories to share on your interactions with police, please do so and write to Academic Senate Demonstrations and Student Actions committee:

    http://academic-senate.berkeley.edu/committees/DSA

    It exists to assure that free speech and demonstrations can happen because they are a reflection of core academic values. Learning about any mistreatment is thus crucial.