Possible tuition increases to be discussed at UC Regents meeting

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The Regents of the University of California and its committees are meeting at UCLA on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to discuss possible tuition increases and to approve the 2020-21 UC system budget, among other agenda items. 

The UC system’s multiyear budget plan, parts of which are up for discussion Thursday, is focused around sustaining core operations, addressing critical capital needs and funding the multiyear framework. The framework aims to increase degree attainment, close achievement gaps between different student populations and invest in faculty and research, according to the agenda. 

The plan also projects increases in tuition, the student services fee and nonresident supplemental tuition — due to planned enrollment growth aimed at sustaining core operations, according to the agenda. The UC system is considering adopting a cohort-based approach to raise tuition, which would keep rates flat for students enrolled at UC system campuses, and only raise systemwide charges for incoming cohorts of new students. 

“I think the most important topic being discussed at the upcoming meeting is the full board’s discussion item on the cohort based tuition model,” ASUC external affairs vice president and UC Student Association, or UCSA, president Varsha Sarveshwar said in an email. “(The update) will be a really valuable opportunity to better understand how the Regents are thinking about the issue.” 

UCSA has not taken a position on the cohort-based tuition model, but expects to do so at its October board of directors meeting, according to Sarveshwar.

The agenda details that in 2019-20, the UC system received $95 million less in one-time state support than it received in 2018-19, which resulted in an ongoing shortfall in core funds. As an alternative to the cohort-based tuition model, the UC system may seek to limit increases in student charges to the rate of inflation, with “sufficient levels” of state support.

The proposed 2020-21 budget for state capital improvements, totaling over $500 million, is scheduled to be approved by the UC Board of Regents’ Finance and Capital Strategies Committee on Wednesday — according to the agenda. The budget focuses on addressing seismic safety, enrollment growth and deferred maintenance. The committee also plans to hold a preliminary discussion of the UC system’s 2021 operating budget.   

“As UCSA President I have the opportunity to address the full board on Thursday morning,” Sarveshwar said in an email. “We are hoping for a student oriented budget the prioritizes investments in classes … student services, outreach/recruitment/retention services, and transit.”

The Board of Regents’ Compliance and Audit Committee is scheduled to provide an update Wednesday on the implementation of recommendations from the state audit to address “Long-Standing Issues with its Response to Sexual Harassment Complaints,” according to the agenda. The audit provided 30 recommendations to the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, and two recommendations to the Board of Regents. 

The agenda summarized that the California state auditor agreed with the regents’ assessment that both recommendations were fully implemented — and disagreed with three of UCOP’s assessments of implementation status regarding processes to identify and address patterns or systematic problems of sexual harassment. 

UCOP also reported that one recommendation to review cases involving the Academic Senate faculty assessing compliance with established time frames for the adjudication process had not been fully implemented, and is due in October 2020.   

Emily Hom is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @hom_emily.