Regents Approve 8 Percent Fee Increase

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UC Board of Regents Approve 8 Percent Increase

On November 18th, the UC Board of Regents voted on an 8 percent fee increase.

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SAN FRANCISCO - For the fourth time in three years, the UC Board of Regents voted Thursday morning to increase student fees across the UC system, driving up the cost to attend the university to $11,124 - 224 percent higher than it was 10 years ago.

Meeting at UC San Francisco, members of the board initially expressed reluctance about increasing fees again, but many reversed their position after officials from the UC Office of the President gave a presentation detailing the UC's $1 billion budget shortfall. UC President Mark Yudof also mentioned the likelihood of future cuts from the state, which faces its own $25 billion gap in the next two years.

Still, five regents - Odessa Johnson, Charlene Zettel, Darek DeFreece, Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado and Student Regent Jesse Cheng - voted against the increase and its accompanying increase in financial aid. Last November, only one regent voted against the 32 percent fee hike.

The board also approved a slew of professional degree fees at schools across the UC system, including a 9 and 12 percent increase at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business and law school, respectively. UC San Francisco's School of Nursing saw the highest increase at 31 percent.

Regent George Marcus said he came to the meeting with the "full intention" of voting against the fee increase, but the UC's budget situation convinced him otherwise. Regent Eddie Island was also among those who initially questioned the increase but ultimately voted yes. Before voting in favor of the increase, Island criticized the university for turning so quickly to fee increases to help bridge its budget deficits, adding that the university would be pricing out middle class families.

"Fee increases shore up the status quo. They allow us to continue this business as usual," Island said. "What we are doing is accelerating the velocity of the destruction of something we all hold dear."

The day's largely uneventful proceedings stood in stark contrast to Wednesday's tumultuous protest, which drew 300 to UCSF and ended in 13 arrests - including one UC Merced student charged with assault with a deadly weapon - though during the public comment portion of the meeting, a handful of students still voiced passionate opposition to the increases. UC Berkeley senior Ratha Lai excoriated the regents, calling the increase "another nail in the coffin of thousands of students being buried alive."

"It's not going to be sustainable in the long term," said Sonja Diaz, a student at the UC Berkeley School of Law, about the regents' resorting to fee increases for funding. "Alternative solutions would be to obviously cut from the top - administration in the UC is bloated."

Cheng, the UC's Student Regent, said the no votes from the other four regents were a step towards ending fee increases, but added that doing so would require changing "a discourse that has existed for 40 years" among the regents.

Despite the pleas from students, Yudof said the increases and the $116 million in new revenue are necessary to help cover increasing costs which will total $365.9 million in the next fiscal year - $182.3 million of which will goes towards will be increased pension contributions for the UC's retirees. He also added that a simultaneous expansion of the UC's financial aid would offset the effects of the fee increases, though many students said that would mean taking out more loans.

"These loans are the next mortgage backed securities," Diaz said. "The bubble's going to pop and it's going to be on students' backs."

Jessica Gillotte of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.


Javier Panzar is the lead higher education reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

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