On Nov. 13, the UC Board of Regents postponed discussions to raise
supplemental tuition for select graduate programs. This was done at the request of Gov. Jerry Brown, who serves on the Board of Regents by virtue of his office. Brown requested additional time in order to better understand the policies and methodology involved in the setting of fee levels at individual graduate professional programs charging Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition (PDST).
“Recommendations for [PDST] levels come from UC professional schools and campuses after extensive consultation and study. The UC Office of the President (UCOP) then presents these recommendations as a group for review and approval by the Board of Regents,” said Shelly Meron, UCOP media specialist.
The UC has a base tuition of roughly $13,000 per year. Each
graduate program develops a fee that tops the base tuition and is set up by the dean of each graduate school. If a dean wants to increase the PDST, they must present a plan and explain the reasoning behind the increase.
In recent years, graduate programs at the UC have reached record-high
tuition fees, reaching private-school levels.
“The administration is OK with having private school-like fees because they feel that once students graduate from schools like law school or dental school, they will be making salaries that could pay off their debt without much of a burden,” said Jonathan Stein, UC Student Regent and Goldman School of Public Policy and UC Berkeley School of Law student. “However, they don’t take into account those who want to go into public service and social justice work who won’t be getting compensated as much and still have to pay off that same exorbitant amount of debt.”
The board had initially planned to vote on increasing professional degree supplemental tuition at its meeting last Wednesday, but delayed talks on the fees to a later date after Brown’s request.
“The fact is, most of us law students are already swimming in a pool of debt and most of us don’t even know if we’ll have a job after we graduate. As if law students weren’t already facing enough pressure in this current job market, the very real possibility of a tuition hike is seriously alarming,” said Belet Lazar, a second-year student at the UC Davis School of Law.
The board is set to reconvene by the end of the month, according to Meron.
NATASHA QABAZARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.