UC tuition hike planning to worsen despite student dissent

Isabelle Doerschlag/Staff

On Jan. 24, the University of California Board of Regents plans to hike students’ tuition by $348 for the 2018–19 academic year. Here are seven reasons why Rise California and the UC Students Association are teaming up to stop the tuition increase.

  1. For more than 100 years, the University of California was tuition-free. Since the 1970s, state legislators have caused the cost of college to skyrocket by cutting funding for public higher education. But why do we deserve anything less than the system of tuition-free public universities that lifted up past generations of Californians? In 1960, “A Master Plan for Higher Education in California” declared “the long established principle that state colleges and the University of California shall be tuition free to all residents of the state.” That master plan was constructed during the administration of former California governor Pat Brown — yes, Jerry’s dad.
  2. Legislative leaders oppose the tuition increase. Rise California and the ASUC Office of External Affairs met with several legislative offices Monday, delivering the names and testimonies of more than two thousand students that have signed on to oppose the tuition increase. State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León told us in no uncertain terms that he was against the tuition increase, and State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office informed us that they had hoped to see the vote delayed to March and that Rendon would have voted against the tuition increase if he was able to attend this week’s meeting.
  3. It’s wrong to hurt students for administrators’ mistakes. Yes, the UC’s leadership has made a lot of mistakes. Yes, they could spend their budget more wisely. But the ongoing fight between Gov. Jerry Brown and the UC over administrative lapses and state funding is hurting students more than anyone else.
  4. UC Regents have raised tuition by more than 300 percent in the last 15 years. Seriously, when will it stop? In 2002, UC in-state undergraduate tuition was $3,734. Today, it’s $12,294. Similarly, CSU in-state undergraduate tuition was $1,572 in 2002, and is $5,472 today. This isn’t inflation — it’s budgetary negligence. Meanwhile, the UC is already rejecting thousands of hardworking and talented students. “Resident applicants to UC increased by 66,000, or 57 percent, between 2005 and 2015. But admission rates of California residents declined from 86 percent to 59 percent during that decade.” How can we expect more students to succeed at UC schools if we raise tuition even higher?
  5. Tuition hikes disproportionately hurt students of color. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains, hiking tuition makes it less likely that students of color will enroll in four-year public colleges. “All else equal, a $1,000 tuition increase for full-time undergraduate students is associated with a drop in campus diversity of almost 6 percent,” New York University researchers found in a 2015 study. Raising tuition by only a few hundred dollars may not seem like much, but they did it last year too. And they’ll do it again. Over the years, that’s added up.
  6. It doesn’t make sense to commit to a tuition-hike before the budget is set. Last week, Jerry Brown introduced his prospective budget for next year, and he delivered less than the UC anticipated. But the legislature has yet to weigh in. Instead of committing to a tuition hike before that process takes place, let’s leverage our collective power to fight for more funding, so that we can avert another tuition hike.
  7. The UC Regents should be stronger advocates for students. No one becomes a UC Regent because they want to hurt students. But under their watch, California’s state legislature cut state funding per UC student by more than 50 percent. California’s students and families deserve better. The first step towards restoring funding for the university is rejecting this tuition hike and joining our fight in the legislature to #FundtheUC.

Maxwell Lubin is a student at the Goldman School of Public Policy and founder of Rise California. Varsha Sarveshwar is the ASUC Fund The UC Campaign Manager. Rigel Robinson is the ASUC External Affairs Vice President and the UCSA University Affairs Chair.

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  • Alex


  • California Defender

    1. Who caused skyrocketing tuition? Democrats have dominated CA since 1970. Pre-1970 it was primary Republicans. Food for thought.

    2. It isn’t surprising that students would oppose a tuition hike, but they’re currently paying less than many comparable public institutions in other states.

    3. Then shouldn’t you be demanding the resignation of the UC leadership, including Janet?

    4. See #1. Republicans developed tuition-free universities in California and Democrats did away with it. Perhaps you need to rethink your politics.

    5. Not true when you consider the plethora of race and ethnicity based scholarships, funding, waivers, and admission practices.

    6. California is entirely controlled by Democrats. Are they going to go against their leader, Jerry Brown? No, of course not. If the governor were a Republican, you might have a point.

    7. ” No one becomes a UC Regent because they want to hurt students. But under their watch, California’s state legislature cut state funding per UC student by more than 50 percent.” Seems like a contradiction. Did you know the Regents are 23 Democrats and 3 Republicans? See points #1 and #4… again.

    • zzz

      In short

      “Democrats save us poor college students from your policies”

    • lspanker

      Liberals are so reality-challenged that they can’t accept that maybe many of California’s problems are due to the policies of the same people who they have allowed to maintain political control for decades now. It MUST be the fault of those minority Republicans…

  • That Guy

    I understand there are 5,400 UC retirees with pensions over $100K

  • John

    Drain the Swamp. Fire Janet. Cut senior managers salaries 50%. Reduce UCOP employee count by 50%.

  • jeyhovah

    Of course no student would agree to a tuition hike — why would they? Can we stop pretending that the campus agenda needs to be dictated by these fringe elements? Their voice is important but this campus and newspaper gives far too much credence in what the leftists have to say. They want something for nothing. It’s a shame that they don’t see how good they have it to begin with just living in the US. But their agenda to somehow usurp white people is misguided and fundamentally flawed.

    • Rollie

      The university’s students are hardly a fringe element, nor do most of them want something for nothing—despite the Op-Ed authors’ own, naive plea to this effect, in their first point.
      I believe that in the main, students and their families would be satisfied with reasonable, stabilized tuition.

      Current tuition in the UC system is out-of-scale expensive, and unduly saddles those students who eventually pay the costs, as well as straps the public system itself when other students default. Sure, part of the problem is that universities have become fat cows, providing a range of curricula that has gone beyond a sensible core, with some areas of study offering dim prospects to even the most ardent student. (A lower-level institution, such as a junior college, might be a fine place to “find” oneself or explore personal development, but a top university is supposed to provide a marketable education.) But the main problem seems to be that these universities do not even aim for leaner budgets, let alone expense reductions, but instead they merely accept the ever-rising costs that their free-wheelin’ style of spending produces, and then tack the new margin onto last year’s rates. It’s a pecuniary shoulder-shrug, and it doesn’t help to have a UC chancellor apparently unwelcoming of fiscal austerity, and who winks at slushy, hidden funds. Our bright and earnest students deserve far better.

  • lspanker

    For more than 100 years, the University of California was tuition-free.

    For more than 100 years, we didn’t have this idea that we shouldn’t enforce our immigration laws, much less provide college educations for illegal aliens. We also did not have a punitive tax and regulatory environment that drove off businesses and the middle-class people who were employed by them, as well as their tax revenue. California tends to drive off net taxpayers and import net tax consumers in their place. Add the ludicrous pension plans for government employees, and you have a California with serious financial problems. Learn something about the fiscal condition of this state before whining and crying about not having free tuition or college…

    Maxwell Lubin is a student at the Goldman School of Public Policy and founder of Rise California.

    In other words, someone who promotes spending state tax dollars on college for students who aren’t even in the country legally – in other words, part of the problem, not the solution.