The University of California (UC) Board of Regents will vote on a 2.6 percent tuition raise for nonresident undergraduate students—including out-of-state, undocumented, and international students—on March 13. The Board of Regents also raised nonresident undergraduate tuition last year.
The UC Office of the President (UCOP) proposed the tuition raise, which 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 nonresident students have to pay along with the $12,570 for UC tuition, making their total cost of attendance $42,324. Last year saw a 3.5 percent increase in the NRST, nearly a thousand-dollar increase.
The UC Board of Regents anticipates $28.9 million in revenue from the tuition hike, which it will use to fund system-wide programs and services, such as assistance with food and housing or increasing graduation rates, according to the regents’ proposal.
At UCSD, the NRST has been used to upkeep the Teaching and Learning Commons, support student success coaches, and expand mental health and health promotion services. The NRST’s role in funding the UC system has become increasingly vital over the past two decades, partially to mitigate the impact of state funding decline.
Tuition and fees currently represent 45 percent of expenditures for education, as opposed to only 19 percent in 2000-01, according to a budget breakdown in the proposal. Nonresident student enrollment has similarly increased in recent years for this reason, growing from only 5 percent in 2010-2011 to the current 17.5 percent.
The proposal further asserts that nonresident UC students “generally come from families with greater financial resources compared to California resident families,” and “are much less likely to borrow a student loan compared to California resident undergraduates.”
“There are a lot of stereotypes about non-resident students…being ultra-wealthy,” Warren College Internal Vice President Liz Niculescu wrote in a letter to the Board of Regents. “The fact that we chose to attend UCSD seems to be perceived by the Regents as an open invitation to raise tuition. That sort of thinking is [sic] discriminatory and prejudiced in every sense of those words.”
Tuition for California residents has remained flat for seven out of the last eight years, according to a press release from the UC Office of the President. The Board of Regents last increased resident tuition in 2017, which was the first increase since 2011.
Gov. Gavin Newsom released a state budget proposal in January allocating an unprecedented amount of funds to the UC system, on the condition that the system increases enrollment by 1,000 and does not increase resident tuition. The UC system had requested funds to increase enrollment by 2,500 students.
“We respectfully assert that targeting nonresidents is simply not the way to go [for providing affordable education to residents],” UC Student Association President Caroline Siegel-Singh wrote in a letter to the California Legislature. “If there’s one thing that our recent national political discourse has proven, it is that the easiest way to voice our greatest fears, concerns, and pain is to scapegoat those who look a little less like us.”
In addition to the tuition raise, the Board of Regents is also scheduled to vote on the lease for a new Target that will take the UCSD Bookstore’s current location, and the construction of new housing in Pepper Canyon West.
“Non-resident students experience food and housing insecurity as resident students do, and I am concerned that increasing tuition would further exacerbate these issues,” Student Regent-designate Hayley Weddle told The Triton. “Raising tuition runs counter to supporting non-resident students’ success, and would be a disservice to valuable members of our UC community.”
Vrinda Chauhan is a Staff Writer for The Triton.