UC Board of Regents votes to table proposed nonresident tuition increase

UC Board of Regents/Courtesy

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The UC Board of Regents agreed Thursday to table the vote on a proposed nonresident tuition increase of 2.6 percent, allowing for more time to explore other sources of funding.

Nonresident tuition — which is nearly triple what California resident students pay — was slated to increase by $762, accruing revenue needed to cover a $30-million budget deficit. Much of the board, however, expressed mixed opinions during Thursday’s meeting and ultimately reached the conclusion that it could not pass a vote, tabling it until further notice.

Regent Sherry Lansing said the UC system’s first duty is to the state resident students. She said, however, that she came into the meeting with an opinion that then changed after hearing the arguments brought about by her fellow regents.

“I think there is so much more work to do on this. … I am extremely mindful of what (the board is) saying,” Lansing said.

ASUC External Affairs Vice President Nuha Khalfay said tabling this proposition is a step in the right direction.

“It’s very clear today that regents are on the same page as students and in favor of finding alternative solutions,” Khalfay said. “We have been organizing for months, petition and soliciting students’ stories, put out an op-ed in The Daily Californian, had a team of students yesterday and today, ensuring that the advocacy explains the student side.”    

Some regents and student advocates said they believe nonresident students are often coveted for the high tuition fees they will pay to the UC system.

“Raising non resident tuition sends the message that non resident students don’t matter for our intelligence, skills, or personalities, and reiterates that non resident students are simply seen as a revenue source,” Khalfay said in an email.

Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley said he aims to ensure that nonresident students of lesser means are considered when discussing tuition increases.

“We are committing ourselves to only the wealthiest nonresident students, and that goes against the nature of everything we’re trying to do,” Oakley said. “There are a lot of students throughout this country and throughout the world — they’re struggling to improve their lives, and they’re looking to the University of California.”

ASUC Senator Anna Whitney, an out-of-state student herself, said universities may not realize the value that nonresident students offer.

“(Nonresident students) bring those added perspectives to the classroom experience; they bring that added knowledge and expertise into our research, our teaching,” Whitney said. “Without that, the classroom experience cannot be world-class.”

Student Regent Devon Graves said resident and nonresident students have basic needs, food and housing fees — costs that should not be offset by raising tuition. He also suggested that the UC system be more transparent with its students about the cost of attendance and the possibility of it increasing.

UC President Janet Napolitano agreed at the meeting that the UC system needs to be transparent. In admissions letters, she said she aims to include the current cost of nonresident tuition and a disclaimer of it possibly increasing during the 2019-20 academic year. She also emphasized that the budgetary deficit will need to be addressed.

“I really cannot emphasize enough — look, a $30-million hole is a $30-million hole,” Napolitano said. “How do we continue to meet our budgetary needs at the level and quality which it is rightfully known?”

Contact Vanessa Arredondo at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @V_anana.