UC Board of Regents to consider income-based tuition increase

Sunny Shen/Staff

Related Posts

The UC Board of Regents is set to vote on a potential tuition increase at its meeting March 19.

According to the meeting agenda, the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, has a plan that will increase tuition costs for students from high-income families but ultimately result in a net decrease in cost for most. The tuition increase plan, as proposed by UCOP, would be a cohort-based approach, meaning the amount of tuition undergraduates pay is dependent on their year of matriculation.

One-third of all tuition goes directly to funding financial aid scholarships, according to the agenda. There would be a net tuition decrease for more than half of all in-state undergraduates, as the increase in tuition revenue would contribute to scholarship funding.

Students from the lowest-income cohort — including those from families that earn about $20,000 per year — would see a slower rate of tuition increase than students from any other cohort. Students from the middle-income cohorts would also see a slower rate of yearly increase in tuition than those from the highest-income cohort.

If the measure passes, students with families making $120,000 or more would see an immediate increase in tuition and a higher rate of tuition increase per year compared to all other cohorts.

Students that are former foster youth and those with very low income may also be direct recipients of scholarship increases. 

“A tuition increase provides more financial aid for UC’s neediest students by helping them cover not only tuition, but also other expenses such as housing, food, and supplies,” said UCOP spokesperson Sarah McBride in an email.

Nonresidents of California, both international and out-of-state, will also have the opportunity to receive the scholarship benefits. Of the funding from the tuition increase, 10% will be set aside specifically for these students, according to the agenda.

Graduate students could also benefit from this plan and would receive tuition reductions that are determined by individual departments and programs, according to the agenda.

Tuition will also help pay for an increase in faculty salaries because they are currently “substantially below market value,” according to the agenda.

“It also provides campuses with the resources they need to maintain a high-quality educational experience for all students,” McBride said in the email. “This includes recruiting and retaining great faculty and ensuring that UC salaries are competitive with the market. Right now, UC faculty salaries are about 7.5 percent below market.”

Some students are concerned about this proposal, however, because while it may lead to a net decrease for students who receive substantial financial aid, students that receive very little aid could see large net increases in cost, according to ASUC External Affairs Vice President Varsha Sarveshwar.

“These proposed tuition increases will most significantly impact college affordability for middle class CA residents, out of state students, and students who fall through the cracks of our financial aid system,” Sarveshwar said in an email. “I cannot support these increases given the affordability challenges that already exist.”

Contact Eric Rogers at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @eric_rogers_dc.

A previous version of the Friday article “UC Board of Regents to consider tuition increase” incorrectly stated that the proposed tuition plan would be income based. In fact, the proposed tuition plan would be based on students’ cohort year of entry into the university and on each student’s socioeconomic status.