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Saturday, July 13, 2024

New-in-Brief: Regents to discuss budget strategies

It’s still possible that Gov. Jerry Brown is going to implement an all-cuts budget, which could mean a $1 billion cut to the University of California. The UC Board of Regents will be discussing strategies to combat this unprecedented cut, such as another 32 percent tuition increase.

The regents’ meeting takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday at UC San Francisco Mission Bay. One topic that will be discussed on Wednesday is the “Plan B” contingency budget, should the state adopt an all-cuts budget.

According to the discussion item, tuition increases must be considered. Under consideration is a proposal to accommodate any further reductions in State General Funds with an equivalent amount of revenue generated through fee hikes. If there’s an additional $500 million budget cut, then the proposed tuition increase would be 32 percent beginning Fall 2011. This is on top of the already approved 8 percent increase, also to begin Fall 2011.

“There are no additional ‘magic solutions’ to managing additional cuts, should an all-cuts budget become a reality at the state level,” states the discussion item. “Campuses have stated that they cannot absorb additional cuts without beginning to dismantle major programs and thus forever alter the quality of the University of California.”

The regents will also discuss increasing non-resident enrollment annually by 10 percent, which would generate $92 million per year, and increasing professional degree tuition annually by 8 percent, which would yield $60 million by 2015-16.

Executive Vice President of Business Operations Nathan Brostrom and Vice President of Student Affairs Judy Sakaki will also present Financial Aid strategies to the board on Wednesday. One goal is to ensure that UC students are able to help pay their fees through employment, but not be forced to work to the extent that it impedes on academic progress. UC students also should be able to manage their loans upon graduating, according to the discussion item.

Another goal is to raise the income ceiling for the UC Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which covers all systemwide student fees, to $90,000 from its current $80,000. UC also hopes to start a program that would allow half of the systemwide tuition and fees to be covered for needy middle-income families. The income ceiling would be $120,000.

– Janelle Bitker

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