Regents Consider Student Tuition Increases, Additional Furlough Days

Photo: <b>Demonstrators</b> outside the Regents meeting in San Francisco criticized UC President Mark Yudof's handling of the budget crisis.
Anna Vignet/Photo
Demonstrators outside the Regents meeting in San Francisco criticized UC President Mark Yudof's handling of the budget crisis.

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UC regents meet to discuss cuts and fee increases

On Wednesday, the UC regents had a meeting in San Francisco to talk about the potential student fee increases, the furlough plan, and salary cuts.

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SAN FRANCISCO-UC officials warned at the UC Board of Regents meeting Wednesday that the worst of the 10-campus system's financial troubles may be far from over.

Regents listened as officials outlined their recommendations, such as student fee increases, for tackling hundreds of millions of dollars in decreased state funding that is not expected to rebound by next year.

Among the recommendations are mid-year student fee increases, to be followed by a new round in fall 2010, as well as extra fees for professional and engineering students and a possible extension of the employee furlough program.

"I have to tell you that the worst is not over yet," said UC President Mark Yudof in his opening address to the board. "Where there once was a freeway to higher education ... there is now a toll road with students paying more and more of the cost."

He added that increasing fees was among the few alternatives left to increase revenue without extending paycuts or the furlough program.

"If these fees are approved ... you at least can be assured that you will be attending a university that will ignore the temptation of mediocrity," he said.

The mid-year student fee increase would be $585 for resident undergraduates and $633 for non-residents, followed by an additional $1,344 increase in the 2010-11 academic year for resident undergraduates and $1,458 for out-of-state undergraduates.

Resident and nonresident graduate students would also see increased fees under the plan: $654 and $681 respectively for next semester.

The regents are expected to vote on the proposed fee increases and other measures at their next meeting in November. Student Regent Jesse Bernal said he would vote against proposed fee increases, but no alternatives to the increases were offered yesterday.

Although many regents acknowledged negative impacts of fee hikes, they have approved consecutive fee increases for the past several years.

Some students who attended the meeting said the plan would curtail their ability to stay in school.

"I'm going to have to take a quarter off to be able to work and save money," said senior David Partida of UC Santa Cruz.

According to officials, financial aid would cover additional fees for most middle and low income students by reinvesting 33 percent of revenue from undergraduates and 50 percent of graduate increases back to students as grants and other forms of aid. This would be supplemented by Cal Grants and the increased amount of federal Pell Grant awards.

UC budget officials also suggested implementing additional fees during the 2010-11 academic year for upper-division undergraduates in certain disiplines such as business and engineering.

Faculty members criticized administration budget plans as well as the university's escalating reliance on private funding.

"The choices ... which are not written in the stars have led us away from the (university's public mission) ," said Joshua Clover, associate professor of English at UC Davis.

UC officials said some of the budget shortfall may be recovered if the state does not make $305 million in one-time reductions permanent and pays $96 million in contributions to the university's retirement fund.

Still, officials said it is "highly uncertain" that the funds will be reinstated.


Zach E.J. Williams is the assistant university news editor. Contact him at [email protected]

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