State Cuts May Force $3,000 Fee Increase

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Correction Appended

California public universities must increase student fees dramatically to maintain their academic quality if the state's proposed budget cuts for 2008-09 are approved, according to recent reports.

In order to make up for the $417.4 million gap between the university's and state's proposed budgets for 2008-09, resident undergraduate student fees must jump to $9,636, up from $6,636 in 2007-08, excluding individual campus fees, a UC Academic Council report projects. The jump represents about a 45 percent fee increase.

The UC Board of Regents is considering a 7.4 percent undergraduate student fee increase for the 2008-09 school year in order to alleviate the impact of the state's projected $16 billion deficit on the university.

"The University is doing all it can to advocate in Sacramento against cuts of this magnitude, but given the gravity of the budget crisis, it is likely that the Board of Regents at its May meeting will consider raising student fees as one part of the University's response," said UC President Robert Dynes last week in a letter addressed to students.

Another report, released by the Campaign for College Opportunity on Wednesday, found that fees for students at the university have increased by 84 percent since 1998-99.

The campaign's report shows that the proportion of state funding for higher education has decreased since 1998, causing students to pay a greater proportion of the university's funding. The proportion of funds coming from students has risen to 31 percent in 2007-08, up from 18 percent in 1998-99.

In addition to increasing student fees, the UC and CSU systems would have to turn away approximately 27,000 students total from their campuses over the next 2.5 years, according to the report.

The university is currently overenrolled by 4,200 students and officials have said the university will not increase enrollment next year unless state funding is ensured.

"What we're trying to do is expose the nature of these cuts before they happen," said Blake Ulveling, communications associate for the campaign. "Unlike other programs, education is an investment in the economy."

The campaign's cumulative impact report concluded that the budget cuts would reduce the state's higher education institutions' ability to supply the educated workforce needed.

State officials said cutting funding for higher education is not the governor's first choice, but added that all state programs must bear some of the weight.

"Education is a priority for the governor. However, the state can't spend more than it takes in (and) it has a negative impact on the economy as well," said Sabrina Lockhart, a spokesperson for the governor. "(The cuts are) difficult but necessary steps to get spending in line with revenues."


Correction: Monday, April 21, 2008
Friday's article "State Cuts May Force $3,000 Fee Increase" incorrectly identified Blake Ulveling as the communications associate for the Campaign for College Opportunity. In fact, he is the communications director for the campaign. The same article incorrectly stated that the UC Board of Regents is considering a 7.4 percent undergraduate fee increase for the 2008-09 school year. In fact, the board is considering a 7 to 10 percent fee increase.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Angelica Dongallo covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected]

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