Letter to the editor: Nov. 16

Tuition supports financial aid 

The Daily Californian’s Nov. 13 op-ed “Tuition rollbacks will not hurt financial aid” presents an inaccurate impression of financial aid assistance provided by UC Berkeley. A review of the facts makes clear that funds from tuition provide a critical source of funding for students receiving financial aid.

While federal Pell Grants and state Cal Grants do provide important sources of financial assistance, they are not our largest source of grant funding provided to students. Last year, UC Berkeley distributed approximately $40 million in Pell Grants and $72 million in state-funded Cal Grants to our students. However, the University Student Aid Program, funded entirely through tuition and fees, provided $85 million to make UC Berkeley accessible for our neediest students. Together, these three sources of aid mean that our lowest-income students pay less to attend in 2012 than they would have in 1992 (when fewer of our students qualified for Pell Grants and when the University Student Aid Program was much smaller).

If tuition charges decreased, the above-referenced pool of $85 million would also decrease, reducing the amount of support available to provide in future years.

Tuition and fees also support our new Middle Class Access plan, which caps parental contributions for a Berkeley education at 15% of annual income in the $80,000 to $140,000 range. This fall, nearly 1,500 additional undergraduates are receiving grant aid for the first time at UC Berkeley, with an average award of $3,223.

Also of note, the figures regarding enrollment of California resident freshmen were erroneous.  In Fall 2009, 3,753 new Californians were freshmen on campus, not 4,879. That number has decreased to 2,932 for Fall 2012, but the overall number of Californians who are undergraduates is actually 1,000 more than when the Chancellor took office: 21,450 total this year.

Anne De Luca
UC Berkeley associate vice chancellor of admissions and enrollment

Contact the opinion desk at [email protected]