UC tuition, fees could rise by $363 per student by fall 2017
The University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems are considering tuition increases after a five-year tuition freeze.
UC tuition currently sits at $12,294 per year, and CSU tuition is $5,472 annually. Each campus has its own fees that can increase the cost of tuition above the baseline rate.
Tuition costs have recently held steady despite declining fiscal support from the state for higher education.
“Tuition at the University of California has remained flat for the past six years, despite the decline in state support,” said Claire Doan, a UC spokesperson, via e-mail. “The state has gone from covering 72 percent of the cost of educating a California student in 2000 to 41 percent last year.”
Doan also stressed that any tuition increase would be covered through financial aid for 65 percent of UC students.
Although CSU tuition costs less than half of UC tuition, the CSU system could approve tuition increases of around $300, according to a Los Angeles Times article. A UC press release also announced that the UC Regents will consider a $282 tuition increase and a $54 student service fee for mental health resources later this month. Each system would implement possible tuition increases during the 2017-2018 school year.
According to Elizabeth Chapin, a CSU spokesperson, increasing tuition is not the system’s first option.
“There is currently not a plan to increase tuition, but it could be an option if the state does not fully fund the CSU,” Chapin said via e-mail. “As of right now, there is a $168 million gap between the CSU’s preliminary budget plan for 2017-2018 and the state’s funding plan.”
Apart from tuition increases, Chapin said that the CSU system might also consider budget cuts. To avoid this, CSU officials will continue working with Governor Jerry Brown to secure adequate funding.
“If the state does not fund the gap, the CSU may need to consider difficult options including significantly scaling back support budget request priorities,” Chapin said via e-mail. “CSU leaders, students and stakeholders will work with the governor and state legislative leaders to advocate for increased funding for the CSU to ensure that the university has the resources needed to continue to provide affordable, high-quality degrees to California students.”
In November, students at UC Davis staged a walk-out protest against potential tuition hikes. Parker Spadaro, a first-year undeclared student in the College of Letters and Sciences who helped organize the event, hopes that there will be more protests against increasing the tuition, but also acknowledged that it can be difficult for students to make the time to participate.
“That’s where we’re put in a bind as students — we have to take time for classes, we have take time for work, we have to take time for studying, we have to take time for socializing and we have to take time for rest,” Spadaro said via e-mail. “Finding the time to organize and participate in demonstrations against injustices like tuition raises are so limited in available time despite their necessity.”
Spadaro explained that they are opposed to tuition increases in principle because tuition is already at unreasonable levels.
“Well if you can’t tell by now, [my position on increases is] definitely negative,” Spadaro said via e-mail. “The [present] cost of education is classist, sexist and racist […] Yet we still think of this country as the land of opportunity and the media, politicians, bourgeoisie and other working class individuals shove the idea of the American dream on us.”
Spadaro advocates for a tuition decrease rather than an increase.
“I think I’ve already made it obvious [that] tuition should actually be decreased,” Spadaro said via e-mail. “They should decrease as the university’s investments mature and start profiting until the university’s investments can completely cover tuition.”
Ralph Washington Jr., the president of the UC Student Association and a UC Davis graduate student, spoke of the time when tuition was free.
“Originally, many years ago, tuition was free for California residents […],” Washington said. “I think that one reason that students are requesting for a tuition decrease, a rollback, is to try and create a precedent to go back to the way the cost of education was at some point before.”
According to Washington, free tuition at schools like the UC schools would send a strong message about society’s views regarding the value of higher education.
“Free education would be an incredible thing,” Washington said. “It would be an incredible demonstration of our commitment to improving society, to providing a transformative experience for young residents of our society.”
Written by: Kenton Goldsby — firstname.lastname@example.org