Ten years ago, UC Davis students paid $2,716 in student fees per year. Five years later, they paid $5,406. This year, students pay $9,402, and with the newly proposed 8 percent fee increase, students could pay $10,154 next year.
UC President Mark Yudof announced this proposal yesterday in a media briefing and an open letter to California, along with other proposals for the UC Board of Regents to vote on at their meeting next week. The meeting will take place Nov. 16-18 at UCSF Mission Bay.
“These won’t be the last tough decisions the university will face,” Yudof said in the letter. “But they are essential steps upward out of a hole that was a long time in the digging.”
The fee increase would be effective in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, totaling roughly $822 per student and bringing system-wide fees to approximately $11,124 annually. A third of the money raised will be allocated for financial aid, leaving an estimated added income of $116 million.
“This added revenue will put the university on a footing that allows campuses to reinvest in faculty, expand course offerings, improve academic support and generally begin to recover ground lost last year to crisis,” Yudof said. “It will ensure the resources needed to maintain excellence.”
Yudof ensured that his proposed plan would extend financial aid to more than a third of UC undergraduates under a raised Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan. The plan would include families with incomes less than $80,000, which is $10,000 more than the current plan. These students wouldn’t have to pay tuition.
Additionally, students from families that make less than $120,000 would not have to pay the fee increase for one year. This is approximately 55 percent of UC undergraduates, Yudof said.
UC is still not receiving adequate funding from the state, Yudof explained. While the state increased the UC budget by $370 million, it does not entirely make up for the $637 million cut in state funding last year.
Claudia Magaña, UC Student Association (UCSA) president, said that the state’s increased funding should be no excuse for raising student fees.
“Legislators increased UC funding by $370 million this year to keep UC affordable and accessible,” she said. “The fee hikes from last year bring in an additional $350 million. These combined increases more than make up the loss in revenue caused by decreases in state funding that started two years ago.”
Furthermore, nearly three-fourths of the UC $21.8 billion operating budget is restricted to specific uses. For example, 25 percent is reserved for the medical centers and 17 percent is reserved for government contracts and grants.
Raising student fees has not been UC’s only action to address budgetary problems, Yudof said. UC enacted furloughs and downsized the UC central office while campuses cut course offerings, reduced the number of incoming freshmen, laid off more than 2,600 staff and eliminated 1,400 positions.
Nonetheless, some students find the potential increase intolerable.
“The administration must find another way to fund the university, as students and their parents are shouldering too big of a financial burden already,” said Sameer Khan, chair of the UCSA Council on Student Fees (CSF).
Khan also said that CSF will work closely with each campus’ Student Fee Advisory Committee to ensure student service fees are strictly used to benefit students and not substitute cuts in other areas. Currently student fees cover 41 percent of the cost of education.
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