UC regents approve increases in undergrad nonresident tuition, endorse funding agreement

Alvin Wu/Staff

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SAN FRANCISCO — The UC Board of Regents approved increases in undergraduate nonresident supplemental tuition of up to 8 percent per year for the next five years, and it endorsed a funding and tuition agreement at its meeting Thursday, despite some concerns from regents and students.

The board of regents’ committees on finance and long-range planning unanimously endorsed Gov. Jerry Brown’s May budget proposal for the university. The proposal includes the agreement between Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano to keep tuition for undergraduate residents frozen for two years and to provide $436 million in one-time state funds to the UC pension system.

“To me, the glass isn’t half empty — it’s more than half full,” said Regent Sherry Lansing at the meeting. “This agreement has come so far.”

Although both the UC Student Association and Student Regent-Designate Avi Oved said the agreement was a win, the UCSA said the agreement should be made to benefit all students, and Oved said students had not been a big part of the conversation.

“I think that there needs to be a better sense of what engagement and consultation looks like, because students and administration are speaking different languages,” Oved said.

The regent vote effectively removes Napolitano’s authority to raise resident tuition over the next two years and limits her authority to raise tuition by, at most, the rate of inflation for the following three years, amending the tuition authorization passed by the board in November.

Regent John Perez said at the meeting that elements of the framework worried him but that he chose to vote for the proposal because it was better than the November authorization, which allowed 5 percent increases in tuition for five years and which he had voted against.

In 2015-16, tuition for undergraduate residents will be $11,220, and supplemental tuition for undergraduate nonresidents will increase by about $1,830, according to the university’s website. The student services fee will also increase by $48.

Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition will increase as well under the agreement, as approved by the regents in November, but not at the UC law schools.

Napolitano said at the meeting that she and Brown believe it is time for the state to begin to reinvest in earnest in the university.

She also said the agreement was significant, in part, because Brown acknowledged that some tuition increases may be necessary in future years.

“The expectation has been that we would not raise tuition ever, and that has created some real hardship,” Napolitano said.

While the agreement leaves out funding for enrollment growth, Brown has agreed not to veto any funding for enrollment that might be passed by the state Legislature, according to the university’s website.

The university will lobby for funds to enroll up to 10,000 additional California students, according to Nathan Brostrom, the UC system’s chief financial officer. Many of these students are expected to be transfer students, Brostrom said.

“The fact that there is this big, gaping hole around a commitment to increasing enrollment feels as if the framework is not as strong, frankly, as it needs to be,” said Regent Monica Lozano.

The agreement also calls for pension reforms and attempts to accelerate time to degree and increase transfer admission.

According to Brostrom, the endorsement vote is only one step in negotiations with Brown and the Legislature. The Legislature is slated to approve a state budget by June 15, which would then go to Brown for approval.

Check back for updates.

Daniel Tutt is the executive news editor. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @danielgtutt.