UC Board of Regents to vote on 2.6 percent nonresident tuition hike

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The UC Board of Regents will vote Wednesday to approve a proposal to increase nonresident tuition by 2.6 percent for the 2019-20 academic year after recently deciding not to increase tuition for California residents.

The board will also discuss student housing, basic needs initiatives and the fate of the UC Berkeley Upper Hearst Parking Structure during its three-day meeting.

According to the meeting agenda, the 2.6 percent increase in nonresident tuition will provide campuses with an estimated $28.9 million in new revenue to meet “pressing needs.” Previously, out-of-state students paid $28,992 annually in tuition. The proposal would increase nonresident tuition by $762, totaling $29,754 per student for the 2019-20 academic year.

“The requested action is an important component of the University’s 2019-20 budget plan, which represents a balanced funding proposal to expand access for California resident students, increase degree attainment, close student achievement gaps, and invest in faculty,” the meeting agenda said.

The nonresident tuition increase is in line with the 2019-20 budget plan, which aims to provide UC students with new resources to address additional costs such as housing and food, as well as costs related to employee and retiree health benefits, faculty and staff compensation and employer contributions to the UC Retirement Plan, according to the meeting agenda.

Sarah Abdeshahian — campus organizing director of the ASUC Office of the External Affairs Vice President — said the tuition increase is “not fair” and goes against the university’s principles of affordability and accessibility.

“I believe that increasing non-resident tuition further burdens students with funding the UC, when we should be pressing the State to fund the UC,” Abdeshahian said in an email. “We should not build a wall around our University and push out folks who did not have the privilege of living in California at the right time.”

Revenue components of the 2019-20 budget plan incorporate new state support during the upcoming academic year, along with a commitment from the UC to cover a part of these costs through its own efforts — including investing a portion of the university’s available working capital in a new, higher-yield investment portfolio to attain a year-over-year increase in general use philanthropic donations to the university.

During its three-day meeting, the board will also discuss basic needs programs, food security, housing initiatives, the UC’s long-term investment strategy and plans to further implement State Auditor Elaine Howle’s proposed financial transparency reforms.

The Wednesday meeting will include a vote to start construction on UC Berkeley’s Upper Hearst Parking Structure and Ridge parking lot in September, transforming the property into a six-story residential housing and a four-story academic building.

The UC Board of Regents will meet March 12, 13 and 14 at UCLA.

Stanley von Ehrenstein-Smith covers research and ideas. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @von_ehrenstein.