UC President Releases Fee Increase Proposal

The UC Regents Will Vote On the 9.3 Percent Fee Hike During Their Upcoming May Meeting

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UC President Mark Yudof released a proposal for student fee hikes yesterday that will likely increase fees by 9.3 percent, as recommended by the state.

The fee increase, which the UC Board of Regents has been discussing since November, will be presented to and officially voted on by the regents at their meeting on May 5 through 7. It will require a two-thirds vote to pass.

If the regents approve Yudof's proposal, resident undergraduate fees will rise by about $662 for the 2009-10 academic school year. Students currently paying $7,126 in fees can expect to see this number jump to $7,788 next year.

However, students enrolled in summer sessions will already see fee hikes, as all UC campuses have chosen to implement an unofficial 9.3 percent fee increase for summer courses.

The potential increases come at a time when continuous cuts in state funding have contributed to the UC system's budget shortfall of nearly $437 million, according to Yudof.

"State support of higher education is not a pretty picture," he said. "If you adjust for inflation and the number of students, you can see a pattern in the state general funds declining."

According to the 2009-10 UC Budget for Current Operations, fees were raised six times since the 2002-03 school year, with the largest increase of 30 percent occurring in 2003-04. The regents also approved a 7.3 percent increase in fees for the 2008-09 school year.

This year's proposed increase is expected to generate roughly $152 million, of which $54.2 million will go to graduate and undergraduate financial aid.

Yudof said the effects of the proposed fee increase will be mitigated by new financial aid opportunities available to students.

The Pell Grant-a federal award given to low-income students-was increased by $500 this year by President Barack Obama's economic stimulus bill, making the grant $5,350. More than 50,000 UC students, including 7,500 at UC Berkeley, receive Pell Grants, according to UC officials.

In addition, the regents approved Yudof's Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which will cover systemwide fees for California residents whose families earn less than $60,000 a year, in February.

Yet not all of the regents believe a fee increase is the best solution to the budget deficit.

Student Regent D'Artagnan Scorza, who said he plans to vote against the proposal, said a fee increase would be especially detrimental to middle-class students who are not eligible for financial aid. He added that the university should consider other alternatives before deciding on a fee increase.

"We need to look at other sources of revenue," Scorza said. "The university has not been diligent. We should be looking into more philanthropy and taxes specific to higher education, and also request more from the state."

Alexandra Wilcox of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.


Contact Shannon Lee at [email protected]

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