UC President Expected to Release Fee Increase Proposal

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Students should expect to see university fees rise next fall as UC officials prepare to adopt a possible 9.3 percent state-recommended increase.

UC President Mark Yudof is expected to unveil his fee increase proposal Wednesday, which will go before the UC Board of Regents at its meeting starting May 5, almost a week after incoming students have to turn in their statements of intent to register.

If Yudof's proposal matches the state recommendation, resident undergraduate fees will rise by nearly $700 a year for 2009-10, from $7,126 to $7,788.

Since November, UC officials have been suggesting fee increases as an option to offset the UC system's projected $450 million budget shortfall-an amount compounded by significant cuts in state funding.

In a March 23 letter, Yudof warned new and current students to brace themselves for the possibility of a fee hike.

"I am keenly aware that this possible fee hike comes at a time when many families and students are facing economic hardships and uncertainty," he wrote.

If the regents approve Yudof's plan, the fee increase will come after the deadline for incoming students to submit their statement of intent to register, which some critics say may create planning problems for students.

"The most important thing for college affordability is that students have good information ... and they have that information with enough notice," said Debbie Cochrane, program director for the Berkeley-based Institute for College Access and Success. "Late changes could be problematic for some students."

Students enrolled in summer sessions will already see the fee hike reflected in their payments. All UC campuses chose to adopt an unofficial 9.3 percent hike for their summer courses in anticipation of a systemwide hike, said UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez.

Student Regent D'Artagnan Scorza said the May meeting is the latest the regents could decide on a fee increase and still give enough notice to incoming and current students.

"We're doing things to help mitigate the impact of (a) fee increase," he said. "But I don't think this is a final option. I think we can exhaust other options before we raise student fees."

The current proposed increase follows the UC system's trend of raising fees to counter diminishing state support.

Last May, the regents approved a 7.3 percent systemwide increase in fees for the 2008-09 school year. According to the UC 2009-10 Budget for Current Operations, fees have been raised six times since the 2002-03 school year-the largest increase being a 30 percent hike in 2003-04.

"This is something that always happens," said Dionne Jirachaikitti, ASUC external affairs vice president.

The state budget flux may also have contributed to the timing of the potential approval of the increases, Vazquez said.

"There is such uncertainty and fluidity to the state budget that the regents wanted to wait a little longer to have more clarity as to what to expect from the state budget," he said.


Contact Alexandra Wilcox at [email protected]

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