UC System To Expand Full Tuition Coverage

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UC President Mark Yudof announced on Friday plans to increase the availability of financial aid as well as a new $1 billion fundraising goal.

In a speech to students of Sunnyside High School in Fresno, Yudof talked about extending full tuition coverage to students whose families have annual incomes are up to $70,000 under the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan.

About 52,000 UC students from families making up to $70,000 per year will now be covered, which is 800 more students than were covered under the previous $60,000 annual income limit.

"Originally, the $60,000 came from the median household income in the state," said UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez. "I think in the face of rising student fees, the university felt that the income limit needed to be raised."

Vazquez was not able to provide details about the decision to increase coverage to 800 more students or how exactly the plan will be funded, although it is expected that most funds will come from student fees.

In addition, Yudof introduced the $1 billion target for a UC-wide fundraising project under the name Project You Can. He called on chancellors of all 10 UC campuses to make greater efforts toward private fundraising during the next four years to reach that goal. This new amount would double the amounts raised by the UC system over the past five years, according to Vazquez.

Yudof said the funds raised through Project You Can will be used for scholarships, fellowships and support for professional students among other causes. He said the money will not be used for buildings or salaries.

In Project You Can, the UC campuses will have different goals set based upon the relative extent of their current fundraising capability, according to Vazquez.

The announcement for both initiatives was made at Sunnyside, a largely low-income high school, in order to increase publicity for financial aid accessibility, he said.

"The main goal is to clarify the message for parents and students, when they're sitting around the table discussing whether they can afford go to college," Vazquez said.

Tuition hikes generally have the effect of dissuading students from lower-income families from applying, according to Jose Luis Santos, assistant professor at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

"It's what they call sticker shock," Santos said. "What gets into the paper is the fee increases. They tend to hear how it's going to be unaffordable."

Santos compared the UC system's ability to cover lower-income student tuition to a private institution like Stanford University, which financial aid directors said covers the tuition of students with family incomes up to $100,000.

"Let's not kid anybody," Santos said. "We're still a long way from that (level of financial aid)."


Contact George Ashworth at [email protected]

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