Universities around the country have been raising prices for “auxiliary” expenses such as dormitory housing and food at a faster rate than tuition, according to a recent article published by Business Insider. This trend is true of UC Berkeley.
Adam Ratliff, campus assistant director of media relations and critical communications, noted that the UC Board of Regents recently approved of an updated tuition rate policy — the Tuition Stability Plan. The plan aims to regulate tuition in order to make long-term planning for UC degree costs more straightforward. Ratliff stated that the plan will be enacted for incoming undergraduates beginning in fall 2022, and will stabilize tuition until students graduate or until students meet six academic years at Berkeley, while continuing to maintain tuition rates for current UC students.
“Anecdotally, we hear from incoming families that they like the new Tuition Stability Plan so that they can plan ahead,” Ratliff said in an email. “As always, we remain committed to keeping the cost of a Berkeley education affordable.”
Under the stability plan, undergraduates starting in the 2023-24 academic school year will pay $15,444 in tuition and fees. Continuing students who began in 2022 will need to pay $14,796, and those who enrolled in 2021 and earlier will pay a flat rate of $14,262.
According to UC Berkeley’s housing rates for the 2019-2020 academic year and the projected rate for 2023-2024, prices for a single in a residence hall including the basic campus meal plan have risen from $19,350 to $23,205 — a $3,855 increase, or about 19.92%. This trend is consistent for quad rooms, with prices rising from $14,050 to $16,825 — an increase of $2,775 or 19.70%. In comparison, undergraduate tuition has increased from $14,246 to the stability plan’s established rate of $15,444, which is only an estimated 8.41% increase.
“While I can’t speak to other universities and their policies, I can tell you that housing in the Bay Area is one of the most expensive markets in the nation, which presents its own challenges,” Ratliff said in the email.
Ratliff noted that while campus attempts to maintain housing expenses at as low a rate as possible, it must sometimes increase rates in order to pay for costs such as labor, operational expenses, programming and maintenance.
ASUC External Affairs Vice President Bailey Henderson believes that the trend of auxiliary costs rising at a faster rate than tuition fares is a large issue in terms of administration transparency, and could potentially affect student interest in enrollment, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“There’s a process to approve increases to tuition, but there’s no process to keep the university accountable for how much it raises rates on housing,” Henderson said. “It comes down to whether or not the administration is going to be truthful about how much they’re pricing, and right now they’re not giving up any of that information.”