UC Board of Regents Delay Vote On Tuition Overhaul

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Photo of students on Library Walk at UC San Diego.
Arlene Banuelos / The Triton

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The UC Board of Regents postponed a vote on Tuesday for two proposals that would overhaul tuition; both proposals would increase tuition annually for the next five years. Instead of voting, the Regents discussed them during their meeting on Wednesday.

The UC Regents delayed the vote after the UC Student Association (UCSA) voiced concerns that the vote could be in violation of a state law requiring that UCSA be given at least 30 days’ notice before providing public notice of a cost increase proposal. UCSA President Varsha Sarveshwar said at Tuesday’s Board meeting that they were only given advance notice for a single tuition increase and not the originally proposed five.

The UC administration released a statement addressing the delay, acknowledging the concerns of students. UC Regents Chairman John Perez determined that the student notice requirement would not have been met if the vote proceeded on Wednesday and it had been decided that a delay would be the best course of action.

The first proposal increases undergraduate tuition annually for all students based on inflation through the 2024–25 school year. Under this proposal, the UC system projects that tuition and fees will reach $14,670 and $49,452 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively by 2024-25.

The second proposal would freeze costs for current students and only apply increases to incoming classes of students. This would be a shift from previous increases that were uniformly applied to all students.

According to the UC Office of the President (UCOP), both plans would ensure the university can sustain research and education operations and invest in student success programs. UCOP also says that the plans are expected to increase the financial aid funds for UC undergraduates with the “greatest financial need.”

As per the UCOP’s report, without an increase in available funds, the UC system would need to shift current aid away from some students to fund aid for students with “very low” household incomes. The UCOP’s report also states that without an increase in available funds, the university could face a $700 million-plus budget shortfall by 2025. Last June, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla presented to the campus Academic Senate that UCSD could incur a $24.2 million deficit in the 2020–21 budget.

Graph of projected change in financial aid for undergraduates from the tuition increase
Source: DISCUSSION OF UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA TUITION AND FEE PLAN

Although the tuition increases would increase financial aid funds, UCSA sponsored a petition in opposition to both proposals advocating for no increase this year. 

In the petition, UCSA argues that coupling tuition increases with increases to financial aid will exclude middle income and out-of-state students in need of financial assistance without clearly helping low-income students. The petition also says that the higher tuition price may deter students from applying, regardless of whether that number reflected their actual out of pocket costs or if they qualified for aid.

On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom voiced his opposition to the tuition increases, saying that “the proposed tuition increase is unwarranted, bad for students and inconsistent with our college affordability goals.”  The Governor’s Office released their budget proposal earlier this month, including $217.7 million in new permanent funds and $55.3 million in one-time funds to the UC system.

An exact date for the vote on tuition has not been announced, but UCSA leaders anticipate the vote on tuition to occur at the March or May Regents meeting.

Sahana Narayan is a Staff Writer for The Triton. You can follow her @saharadesert00.