UC Regents Will Meet This Week to Discuss Seventh College and Tuition Increase

Photo from the Board of Regents Meeting Live Feed on March 14, 2019.

The UC Board of Regents will meet this week from Tuesday, May 14 to Thursday, May 16. The agenda includes approval of UC San Diego’s proposal for a seventh college and the nonresident tuition increase, which the regents tabled in March to lobby the state for more funding.

The Board of Regents is the governing body of the UC system and approves decisions that range from building a new Target on campus to bargaining with labor unions. The board meets bimonthly and releases the meeting schedule to the public 10 days before the meeting.

The tuition raise would increase the UC Nonresident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) by 2.6 percent ($762), bringing it up to $29,754 for the 2019–20 academic year. The NRST is a mandatory additional fee that nonresident students have to pay along with the $12,570 for UC tuition, making their total cost of attendance $42,324. Without the raise, UC President Janet Napolitano said there would be a $30 million hole in the budget. Nonresidents include out-of-state students, international students, and undocumented students not covered by AB 540.

Students across the UC system spoke out against the tuition raise in March. While some regents were supportive of the raise, others believed that the UC system would become inaccessible to nonresident students.

In an open letter to the Board of Regents, UCSD student Liz Niculescu called out the UC system for not respecting out-of-state student finances. In a separate statement, Student Regent-designate Hayley Weddle pointed out that nonresident students are also impacted by food and basic needs insecurities and the tuition raise would only exacerbate the situation.

“This specific student population is being scapegoated as taking seats away from Californians,” UC Student Association and Associated Students of UCSD Vice President of External Affairs Caroline Siegel-Singh said at the March Regents meeting. “When in reality, this university has been put in a position where, without necessary state funding for enrollment growth, they’re unable to successfully enroll additional students … and maintain the quality of a UC education which we all expect from this institution.”

The Board of Regents voted to table the tuition increase to give them and student leaders time to lobby the state legislature enough funding to make the raise unnecessary at the recommendation of Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis.

The UCSD Academic Senate approved the Seventh College proposal in February 2019. Seventh College is part of UCSD’s Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), which outlines the campus’ eventual plan to house eight colleges and 32,000 students. At 30,000 students, UCSD is slowly reaching its limit. According to the proposal, residential areas on campus are over capacity by 1,809 students per college. As a result, 2,210 students have been relocated to parts of campus that are not their designated college.

The proposal outlines the general education requirements for Seventh College, which include 14 4-unit courses. Students will be required to take capstone, high-impact, and alternative courses to complete this sequence. The proposed curriculum will also incorporate a design component in conjunction with UCSD’s Design Lab. The proposed theme for Seventh College is “A Changing Planet,” which incorporates sustainability and environmental components with overarching ideas of political and social change.

In addition to the proposed agenda, the Special Committee on the Selection of a Student Regent will hold a closed session on May 14 to interview the Student Regent finalists. The Student Regent is a student chosen to vote in Regents meetings, alternating in two year terms; the first year in a nonvoting role as Student Regent-designate, and the second year as the Student Regent.

The UC Student Association and UC Graduate-Professional Student Association interviewed the applicants during their May board meetings and forwarded three finalists to the Board of Regents. The candidate selected by the Regents to become 2020–21 Student Regent will be appointed Student Regent-designate in July.

The Board of Regents meeting will be missing one member, Regent Ellen Tauscher, who passed away on April 29. The full agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Ella Chen is the Editor-in-Chief of The Triton. You can follow her @cinder_ellachen.