Editorial: Tuition Increase Only A Temporary Fix

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It's the most painful one-time tuition hike for out-of-state students in a decade: Nonresident undergraduate students will have to pay an extra 16 percent in tuition-$1,305-for the 2002-03 year.

The state is backing nonresident students into a corner.

Gov. Gray Davis and state legislators, who are coping with the threat of a $24 billion budget deficit, virtually killed state funding for UC outreach programs, which target underrepresented and underprivileged K-12 students. UC raised tuition to keep the programs.

It was a cynical move. And it worked-only to appease Sacramento.

But it will also help dissuade out-of-state students, who provide UC with an important geographical diversity, from applying to UC.

The governor and Legislature should not rely on the backs of UC students to cope with a looming deficit. We do congratulate UC officials on keeping in-state student fees level for eight consecutive years, but budget analysts warned that we can expect student fee hikes next year.

That would go against UC's entire mission-opening, not discouraging, access to higher education. Fee increases would hurt students' budgets during a time when housing costs remain astronomically high.

Next year's governor and Legislature must find alternatives to raising student fees and tuition to balance the state budget, and consider the prospect of raising taxes.


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