University of California President Janet Napolitano has announced four new initiatives she wants the University to undertake, including a tuition freeze for the 2014-15 academic year and a significant reduction in the University’s energy consumption.
At a Board of Regents meeting at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus on Wednesday, Napolitano called for a change in the UC’s tuition policy.
“I want tuition to be as low as possible, and I want it to be as predictable as possible,” Napolitano said at Wednesday’s meeting. “Tuition cuts right to the heart of accessibility and affordability — two of the University’s guiding stars.”
Napolitano mentioned a couple of options for achieving a new approach, including cohort tuition, in which each class of undergraduates would enter the UC under the assumption their tuition will not significantly increase during their four years.
She said she wants a tuition freeze for the 2014-15 year to give the regents time to develop a new strategy for managing tuition.
Citing Governor Jerry Brown’s recent clean energy pact as inspiration, Napolitano also called on the UC to become a zero net energy consumer by 2025.
Other proposals include a “strike team” to improve transfer rates from community colleges, and finding ways to increase the number of inventions, patents and other research innovations produced by UC researchers.
“If we get tuition right, if we get access for transfers right, if we invest in our own research and change the game on energy consumption, then UC will demonstrate to the nation, and beyond, the fundamental and unique value of a world-class public research university,” Napolitano said.
At a press conference on Nov. 13, Napolitano and other UC officials answered questions about the new initiatives.
Nathan Brostrom, UC executive vice president for business operations, said Napolitano’s proposed tuition freeze would apply only to undergraduate tuition. Graduate and professional school students also pay undergraduate tuition in addition to their other fees.
She added that she has received a “good response” from Sacramento so far about the tuition freeze.
The 2014-15 year would mark the third consecutive year under a tuition freeze, Brostrom said.
The administration intends to have a more detailed discussion about a proposed tuition policy with the regents — likely months down the road — before it would be implemented, he added.