44.9 F

Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Regents discuss de-freezing UC tuition

The UC Board of Regents met on March 19 to discuss the developments in the 2014-15 budget. Although Gov. Jerry Brown did increase the UC budget by five percent in his proposed budget, it leaves the UC with a $124 million shortfall.

Due to this shortfall, the UC Regents said they doubt the current tuition freeze could be upheld in the 2016-17 school year.

Brown’s proposed budget, which was leaked and then officially released in January, allocated five percent more money for the UC system than the budget had the year before. However, the UC Regents had requested a 10 percent increase in funding in November to cover mandatory costs.

As reported by the Daily Californian, the California legislative analyst’s office proposed a budget that would return the UC system to a “workload” budget, which would be dependent on $78 million from tuition leading to a nearly four percent increase.

According to Kelly Ratliff, associate vice chancellor of budget at UC Davis, mandatory costs include salary increases for faculty and staff, contributions to retirement, healthcare and the maintenance of campus buildings.

“Over the last five years the state cut the budget a ton and there were tuition increases but they never fully offset the state cuts,” Ratliff said.

Additionally, these mandatory costs have increased over the years. Specifically, according to Ratliff, the salary increases for the faculty and staff have been lagging behind the industry standard.

“If the state doesn’t give us enough money to cover those costs and the tuition stays flat, we need to be in a mode of cutting budgets to make things work, we’ve done so much cutting in recent years it’s really hard to see how you could keep doing those kinds of cuts without really harming the academic program,” Ratliff said.

Increases in tuition were discussed to fill the gap left by the lack of state funding, however, UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement that the tuition will stay frozen for the 2014-15 school year and if the tuition is to be increased, there will be modest and predictable increases.

“There’s still a lot of discussion to be had, obviously with regards to what this budget will be. We are grateful for the five percent the governor has proposed and we could end up with a little more when the budget deliberations are all said and done and that is something we are hopeful for,” said Adrian Lopez, the director of State Government Relations for UC Davis.

As far as financial aid goes, Lopez said that when there is an increase in the budget there is also an increase in financial aid to help low income families pay tuition.

However, for families that don’t qualify for financial aid, this increase could be devastating. For Rachel Vogel, a second-year nutrition science major, the current UC tuition is already posing a challenge to her family.

“By raising fees even further, I myself am going to have to take out student loans, even though my parents want to be able to pay for my undergraduate education. They’ve been looking into options such as selling the house and way downsizing in order to not go bankrupt. Increasing tuition only worsens the situation,” Vogel said in an email.

Although Vogel will not have to worry about an increase until her fourth year at UC Davis, she is disappointed that the tuition is not what she had planned on when she chose to come to UC Davis two years ago.

“The cost of attending UC Davis puts financial and emotional strain on my family, and it makes me worry that I made the wrong choice putting my family through this much stress,” Vogel said.

Vogel continues to work a minimum wage job to help pay for textbooks, but her income will never be enough to ease the financial strain on her family.

“The important thing to note here is the tuition is frozen for the 2014-15 year and anything beyond that is speculative. It’s too early to tell,” Lopez said.

SYDNEY COHEN can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here