Letters to the Editor: Nonresident Tuition Hike Unfair, Ill-Timed

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The UC Board of Regents' decision to increase nonresident undergraduate tuition by 16 percent and nonresident graduate tuition by 4 percent for the 2002-03 academic year is unfair, distasteful and yet, sadly enough, quite unsurprising ("Regents Raise Nonresident Tuition," July 19).

Unfair, as a mere 5 percent of the UC student body will be burdened with alleviating the state's budget shortfall. With only five weeks remaining before the school year starts, nonresident undergraduate students are expected to cough up an additional $1,305, while the amount for nonresident graduate students is $428. Had the regents decided to increase the fees for all of UC's roughly 150,000 students, each student's fees would go up by a little less than $80, while still enabling UC to collect the projected $11.9 million.

Distasteful, as the board's decision is ill-timed, especially so from the perspective of the international student. At a time when the INS and UC Berkeley are tracking the movements of international students more closely, the regents' decision only contributes to the wrong impression that international students are takers and not contributors to the UC system.

If only INS regulations would permit me to get yet another part-time job to cover the increased tuition ....

Els de Graauw

International student

The new tuition hike is unreasonable. To find that the tuition will be raised, I am looking at unreasonable loans for my first year at the university.

UC Berkeley prides itself on its diversity. Much of the population that is responsible for this diversity will be out-of-state or international students. It is unfair for these students to be penalized. It is also wrong for them to shoulder all the weight of the university's fiscal troubles.

Michelle Harui

UC Berkeley student

About four years ago I was deciding between attending UC Berkeley and the University of Washington. One of Washington's biggest turnoffs was that, being from California, I would have had to pay out-of-state tuition. I made the right choice and came to UC Berkeley. That said, I've obviously never had to pay out-of-state tuition. I don't agree with the concept either, because I think the pre-college student doesn't usually have a choice on where to live but does have a choice on where to attend school.

I would say a quarter of the people I have met here are from other states, and a tuition hike will decrease that fraction. So many intelligent and truly talented people attend this school-adding more restrictions to their enrollment is a step in the wrong direction. I have a sister who will graduate in May, and UC Berkeley will be a school on her list. I want her experience to be just as diverse as mine, but it won't be if students from other states don't come here because they must pay another thousand dollars.

An increase in out-of-state tuition will increase the number of people who make college decisions the way I did-turning their heads away from out-of-state tuition, and consequently turning their heads away from UC Berkeley.

Angelo Arias

UC Berkeley alumnus

Not only do I believe that this tuition hike is unethical, I also believe that it is the regents' "clever" way of dodging the budget deficit problem without further upsetting the already disgruntled California voting public. Unfortunately, such a move will ultimately prove detrimental to the UC system in more ways than one.

The aspect of this tuition increase that I find most disturbing is its timing. At this point in the summer, incoming freshman have already made their final decisions on where they will be attending school in the fall. A change of heart at this point in the game is nearly impossible. They have registered for classes, received their housing assignments, and are nervously anticipating the beginning of their undergraduate careers.

These incoming freshmen made the decision to attend a UC school based on information they had in May. Little did they-or their parents-know that the regents would raise the nonresident tuition on July 18. Had they possessed this information, perhaps they would have rethought their decisions. Perhaps they would have opted for a "cheaper" school. By raising the tuition so late in the summer, the regents expressly made a move at a point when there is little or nothing that nonresident students can do to get out of their current situation. This move was both sneaky AND unethical.

Nonresident students make up a mere 5 percent of the entire student population of UC. Raising our tuition by 16 percent or even 20 or 25 percent will not bring in the big money that raising residents' fees by just a little bit would. Even though resident student fees are significantly lower than nonresident tuition, even a slight increase would produce a fairly large sum of surplus money. UC is a public school system-dependent on the tax-paying citizens of the state, a part of which we, the nonresidents, are not. Fair enough. We should pay more. But raise both resident and nonresident fees-don't just target the nonresidents.

Ironically, while the nonresident tuition increase was put into place to save outreach programs-programs that strive ultimately to increase UC's diversity-it may, in fact, decrease diversity of another sort on UC's nine-soon to be 10-campuses. Nonresidents provide a unique perspective to the university, with ways of understanding the world around them, as well as their peers, that stem from their geographic origins. While it is true that racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity are crucial in an educational setting, losing the rich geographic diversity of nonresidents would truly be a shame.

Lyndsey Yoshino

UC Berkeley student


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