University of California Regents meet, approve first tuition raise in six years

ASHLEY VO / THE DAILY CALIFORNIAN / COURTESY

Regents approve tuition increase in 16-4 vote

The Regents of the University of California (UC) met at UC San Francisco at Mission Bay on Jan. 25 and 26, approving the first tuition increase for the UC system in six years. Although other business items were discussed at the meeting, tuition dominated the discussion.

ASUCD President Alex Lee was present at the meeting to provide a public comment.

“The reality is that these increases will not be moderate for us,” Lee said. “The Middle Class Scholarship is on the chopping block in the proposed state budget […] Too many students already skip meals or don’t buy necessary books to afford tuition or, even worse, may not be able to afford skyrocketing rents. We are facing a crisis of affordability.”

UC President Janet Napolitano, who was present at the meeting despite her recent hospitalization, explained that money for the UC must come from somewhere, but the state continues to not fully fund the system.

“We have done more with less, but at a cost: higher student-faculty ratios, fewer courses, fewer teaching assistants and student services that haven’t kept pace with student growth,” Napolitano said. “We are working hard to secure state funding and other sources of revenue that support growth.”

This growth includes large increases in enrollment throughout the UC system.

“This fall we enrolled 7,500 more California undergraduates than last year, the largest one year increase in resident enrollment since World War II,” Napolitano said. “This entering class is the most diverse ever and among the most accomplished academically. We are committed to another increase of 2,500 California students next year and 2,500 more the year after that.”

At the end of discussion, the board of regents voted to increase tuition by $336 per year: $282 in direct tuition increases and $54 for student fees. This will bring in-state tuition to $12,630. Out-of-state tuition was increased by an additional $1,688, raising it to $40,644.

One of the four regents (out of 20) who voted against the tuition increase was Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. During the debate, he specifically focused his criticism on the unwillingness of the state government to increase funding to the UC.

“I’m not going to vote against the budget […] I just don’t like the revenue proposals,” Newsom said. “By doing the legislature and the governor’s work by finding the revenue, we’ve let them off the hook […] They will see this as an effort not to do their work — to find the $88 million [that are unfunded]. They don’t have to now.”

Before voting on the final budget, a motion to divide the approval of the budget into two motions took place: a first vote on increasing tuition, and then a second vote on the final budget. Under this motion, the budget could not be approved if tuition increases were blocked. The motion to divide the question failed in a 12-8 vote.

In addition to Newsom, student Regent Marcela Ramirez, Assemblymember John Pérez and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson also voted against the tuition raise.

The UC Regents also voted to approve a new professional school at UC Irvine — the Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing. In addition, Pérez was appointed as the new chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee.

Written by: Kenton Goldsby — campus@theaggie.org