The UC Board of Regents approved an increase to undergraduate nonresident supplemental tuition during its last day of meetings at the UCSF Robertson Auditorium.
The regents board extensively discussed an action item sent by the UC Office of the President that would increase the tuition for out-of-state undergraduate students. The action item also included a financial aid provision directed specifically toward nonresident students.
According to the item, the tuition increase approved for nonresident students is 2.6 percent, or $762. Ten percent of the new nonresident supplemental tuition revenue created by the increase will be set aside to provide financial aid to both domestic nonresident and international undergraduate students with financial need.
The 2.6 percent increase will provide campuses with an estimated $28.9 million, according to UC spokesperson Claire Doan. Of that, $2.9 million will go to financial aid for out-of-state students, according to the item.
“State investment in the UC has not been sufficient to fill the revenue gap created by longer reduction in state support and a six-year tuition freeze,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ during the meeting.
Christ added that increasing nonresident student tuition has been “essential” so that the campus can meet the needs of all students and invest in instruction, advising, faculty, diversity and basic needs.
According to Doan, the increase in nonresident supplemental tuition is tied to the rate of inflation to keep the supplemental tuition flat in constant dollars.
“Because of most nonresident undergraduates’ greater financial resources — including a higher median family income and a lower rate of borrowing — the university does not expect this minor increase to affect their enrollment or timely progress toward graduation,” Doan said in an email.
However, this action did not pass without controversy. Twelve board members voted “yes” on the bill, while six voted “no.” Concerns were raised during the meeting about undocumented students who are not covered under AB 540. AB 540, according to Regent John Pérez, limits which undocumented students the university can provide financial aid to.
There is currently a proposed piece of legislation in place that would increase undocumented students’ access to financial aid.
Regent Lark Park said she believed that the action was going in the right direction, but she shared a few concerns.
Park brought up the fact that there are about 5,000 domestic nonresident and international students who have family incomes below $58,000 (or an equivalent amount for international students).
“If I had to think about how much does $2.9 million in financial aid give back with the $762 increase to cover that delta for them, you get up to 3,800 students, and that still leaves 1,200 students whose incomes or family incomes are pretty darn low. So that is my discomfort there,” Park said.
Other recommendations regarding tuition and structural development at UC Berkeley passed the board.
Pérez, a member of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, brought forward recommendations for the board’s approval. One of these recommendations, which was approved, was an approval of a professional degree supplemental tuition for graduate and professional students in the Haas School of Business, which would shrink the differential that in-state students pay. According to Pérez, although the recommendation is a tuition increase, it would ultimately reduce the additional fee that in-state students pay. The recommendation would also help increase the number of in-state students within the program.
A recommendation regarding the 2020 Long Range Development Plan was brought to the board by Regent Hadi Makarechian, who sits on the Finance and Capital Strategies Committee. Makarechian’s recommendation involved the regents certifying a supplemental environmental impact report, among other documents, for the Upper Hearst Development project on UC Berkeley’s campus, which involves increasing space for the Goldman School of Public Policy and for housing.
This proposal was also adopted. According to Makarechian, the development plan would accommodate “additional academic space” and 158 units of additional housing for faculty. It would also involve tearing down some of the parking structure on the Upper Hearst lot and rebuilding a new structure.