UC Board of Regents to discuss tuition, fee plan

Kristen Tamsil/Staff

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Update 01/21/18: This article has been updated to reflect the change from a vote to a discussion on the Regents’ agenda.

The UC Board of Regents will meet Tuesday through Thursday at UCSF, including a discussion on two tuition and fee plans during Wednesday’s board meeting.

The first plan proposes increasing tuition, the Student Services Fee and nonresident tuition by California’s inflation rate, according to the meeting’s agenda. Under this plan, rates would increase for both new and continuing students.

The agenda’s second plan uses a cohort-based model for tuition, in which tuition and fees remain stable for each class of students. Tuition and fees may vary between each incoming class of students.

Each of the two plans, if voted on, will be implemented for the 2020-21 academic year and remain in effect through the 2024-25 academic year.

According to the meeting’s agenda, each plan will generate an increase in financial aid because one-third of tuition and Student Services Fee revenue is used for financial aid.

According to the UC Student Association, or UCSA, President and ASUC External Affairs Vice President Varsha Sarveshwar, however, both plans “jeopardize affordability” for many students who would not benefit from the increase in financial aid funds.

The UCSA opposes both tuition plans, according to Sarveshwar. She added that the biggest issue she sees with both plans is that they will be in effect for five years, and instead believes the Board of Regents should consider tuition on an annual basis once the UC system knows how much state funding it will receive for that year.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom submitted his budget proposal Jan. 10, which includes a 5% increase in UC system funding. According to the agenda, this increase is not enough to fund the university’s “high-priority investments,” which include eliminating achievement gaps and expanding enrollment.

According to Sarveshwar, voting to increase tuition for the next five years could “let the state off the hook” for UC system funding.

“With some stern advocacy, the final budget could be a lot more robust than the initial one,” Sarveshwar said.

UCSA labor relations officer Josh Lewis said approximately three dozen students from various UC campuses are signed up with UCSA to attend Wednesday’s meeting in protest of tuition increases. In addition, UCSA’s online petition against the increases has garnered more than 900 signatures, according to Sarveshwar. Lewis said he hopes the student presence at the meeting will show the regents the “human impact” of tuition increases.

Student Regent Hayley Weddle said she opposes both plans to increase tuition as she thinks they would decrease affordability. She added that she felt the regents should prioritize the student input that will be shared during public comment.

“As Chair of the Regents Special Committee on Basic Needs, I am also concerned that increases to tuition may exacerbate food and housing insecurity,” Weddle said in an email.

According to Weddle, the regents will also be discussing basic needs security, housing insecurity and sexual violence and harassment this week.

Maya Akkaraju is the lead higher education reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @maya_akkaraju.