The UC system announced in a press release Wednesday that it will not increase tuition for California residents for the 2019-20 academic year. A decision has yet to be made regarding tuition for nonresidents.
According to the UC Office of the President press release, the UC will not raise tuition for in-state residents because of increased funding from the state. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget for 2019-20 allocates a $240 million ongoing general fund for operational costs and to go toward student hunger and housing initiatives, support for graduate medical education and mental health resources. This amount also includes a one-time fund of $138 million to cover deferred maintenance costs.
Student Regent Devon Graves said “there is enough support for the UC for the coming year” by the state government, which is why the in-state tuition was able to stay consistent. It is the seventh time in eight years that in-state tuition has stayed flat. Despite the flat tuition, Sarah Abdeshahian — the campus organizing director of the ASUC Office of the External Affairs Vice President, or EAVP — said in an email that tuition is still “unacceptable” for a public institution that says it is “accessible and affordable.”
The announcement has also sparked discussion because so far, only in-state tuition has been decided upon. The UC regents will meet March 12-14 at UCLA to discuss proposed changes, which could include a 2.6 percent tuition increase for nonresidents for the 2019-20 academic year. The increase will provide campuses with an estimated $28.9 million in revenue, according to the UC regents meeting agenda.
“The UC needs to be kept accessible for out of state, international and undocumented students,” said EAVP Nuha Khalfay in an email. “We need to remember the value they bring to the institution as people rather than (just the) revenue.”
Both Graves and Khalfay mentioned that the UC Student Association — a systemwide body that represents all UC students — has already started to push back and organize against the proposed changes, “doing everything in (its) power to prevent the tuition hike,” Khalfay said in an email.
According to Graves, the question of nonresident tuition is political in nature because these students’ interests are not traditionally represented in Sacramento. Graves added that there is no concrete budget plan in place if the tuition raise does not pass.
Aidan Arasasingham, the legislative director for the UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council, said there are current efforts to mobilize students in opposition to the potential increase of nonresident tuition.
“You keep security for in-state students, but you pay it off the backs of nonresident students,” Arasasingham said. “What we want to show the regents and the UC and the state legislature is that any tuition increase we will treat as if it is an increase on the whole student body.”