UC annual tuition could increase by $348 for 2018-19 academic year

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Students from across the UC system travel to the UC Board of Regents meeting at UCSF Mission Bay in November 2016 to protest a potential rise in tuition after a two-year freeze ends at the start of the 2017-18 school year.

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UC systemwide tuition could increase by 2.5 percent if the university’s 2018-19 preliminary budget is approved.

The potential tuition increase, outlined during the UC Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, amounts to $348 per year with additional student expenses of $662, adjusted for inflation. Funds would go toward hiring additional staff to decrease the student-to-faculty ratio, upgrading technology in lecture halls and classrooms and addressing maintenance and safety needs, according to UC President Janet Napolitano.

UC spokesperson Stephanie Beechem said in an email that all discussions at the Regents’ Wednesday meeting were preliminary and that the budget will be presented to the board for approval in November.

At the meeting, Napolitano said the university expects to see an increase in state support for the base budget, although she added that the university is expected to enroll an additional 1,500 students in the 2018-19 academic year without any guarantee of state support.

Only students whose family income exceeds $165,000 will be expected to pay the tuition increase in full. Napolitano said during the meeting that for more than 100,000 UC undergraduates, net tuition would in fact be lower with the tuition increase than it would be if tuition levels remained flat.

UC Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom said the tuition increase was proposed after taking into account student perspectives and considering improvements to the educational environment.

“We had students who would come in and complain about bottleneck majors, crowded classes and deteriorating classrooms. A lot of that was because of things we were doing to try and control costs,” Brostrom said at the meeting. “I do think that given the priority of what we have at the university … (tuition dollars) are really going towards the quality of education.”

Student regent Paul Monge said that while many students would not be overtly affected by the tuition increase, others — such as middle class and undocumented students — might bear the brunt of the adjustment.

“We’re going to keep monitoring how (the tuition increase proposal) unfolds throughout the year and make a case that the university should not balance its budget on the backs of students,” Monge said.

Revati Thatte is the lead higher education reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @revati_thatte.