UC system expected to face 20 percent tuition hike if tax initiative fails

Taryn Erhardt/File
UC President Mark Yudof addresses the UC Board of Regents at their January meeting.

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The UC system could receive a $250 million budget cut and no tuition buyout for the upcoming school year if Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative fails to pass when voters go to the polls this November.

According to next week’s UC Board of Regents meeting agenda, if the tax initiative does not pass on the November ballot, a 20.3 percent midyear tuition increase is likely. This would also mean the proposed tuition increase buyout in the recently passed state budget would not be available for the upcoming school year, creating a $125.4 million gap, for a total shortfall of $375.4 million for the UC system.

“This would bring the total funding cut by the State in a two-year period to $1 billion, an overwhelming amount in a very short time period,” the agenda item of the regents’ Committee on Finance states. “Therefore, it may be necessary to consider a mid-year tuition increase of 20.3 percent effective January 1, 2013 … If that were to occur, mandatory systemwide tuition and fees would rise from $12,192 in 2011-12 to $14,670 in 2012-13.”

The item also states the budget package adopted by Brown last month includes a provision for the UC system to receive another $125.4 million in 2013-14 not only if the tax initiative passes, but also if the board votes to not increase the mandatory systemwide tuition and fee increases for 2012-13.

Darius Kemp, director of organizing and communications for the UC Student Association, said the proposal is a good reason for students to vote in the fall election.

“We always knew there would be systemic problems if continued cuts happened with the state government,” Kemp said. “This has a direct impact on students if the initiative does not pass because the buyout won’t happen and there will be potential fee increases in the future.”

The board will convene July 17 and 18 at the UCSF Mission Bay campus for its regularly scheduled July meeting, at which the regents will vote on whether to endorse the tax initiative.

While UC President Mark Yudof and board chair Sherry Lansing have come out publicly in favor of the tax initiative, there are many restrictions for the regents to partake in active campaigning, according to UC spokesperson Dianne Klein.

ASUC President Connor Landgraf said the ASUC will send representatives to the regents’ meeting. He added that although the initiative will not alleviate all problems, students need to rally behind it.

Student Regent Jonathan Stein said it is vital for the regents to endorse the initiative on behalf of the university.

“Students must mobilize. We must get out of the vote,” Stein said in an email. “This is hugely important for our education, and for the education of the students that come after us.”

News editor Adelyn Baxter contributed to this report.
Anjuli Sastry is an assistant news editor.