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California College Tuitions Reach Unmatched Heights



The cost of a college education for out-of-state transfer students attending UC Berkeley is the highest of any public university in the nation and places the school on a list of the 100 most expensive colleges in the U.S.

Amounting to more than $50,000 for tuition, fees, room and board, the cost has placed Cal on this year’s infamous “50K club” list of the priciest universities in the nation. According to analysis released by the Chronicle of Higher Education last week, Berkeley is the only public university of the 100 schools nationally that made the “50K club” this year.

The “50K club” also seems to be rapidly expanding each year — it only listed 58 institutions among its ranks in 2009-10, and five in 2008-09. University of California officials even speculate that more campuses will cost over $50,000 to attend by Nov. 16-18, pending an expected vote by the UC Board of Regents to increase tuition.

UC Office of the President Spokesperson Steve Montiel said the 10-campus system has been hit hard by fiscal calamity and subsequently forced to increase fees while cutting services.

“UC has increased by 16,000 students without full funding from the state,” Montiel said. “[We are] still underfunded based on enrollment and in addition, the University faces over $200 million in cost increase.”

Furthermore, Montiel said the UCOP is currently finalizing the University’s 2011-12 budget in time for the Nov. 12 regents meeting at UCSF, when the board will consider hiking student fees — on top of last year’s 32 percent system-wide increase.

According to Director of Admissions Christine Van Gieson, budget cuts have discouraged many from applying and overwhelmed financial departments with requests for assistance. The current cost of tuition and living on-campus at UCSB is reported as $27,842. However, that price is expected to reach $30,284 by 2011-12.

“The fact is, we have more and more trouble meeting deadlines, fewer staff members and it’s been very difficult to get all 60,000 applications reviewed,” Van Gieson said. “[We have] a lot of deferred projects that need to be worked on … and we’re also very behind on completing new student profiles for incoming students.”

Van Gieson said this year was particularly difficult for UCSB transfer students and financial aid applicants. In fact, UCSB’s Financial Aid Office was so understaffed last year that it had to shut down its doors for several days to process backed-up financial aid requests.

Tara Torpey, a second-year literacy and cultural studies major at Western Washington University, said tuition increases and limited class availability have deterred students from attending the UC.

“I wanted to go [to UCSB] because I thought it was a great school and it had a lot of majors I was interested in,” Torpey said. “It’s obviously a beautiful place too. [However], I couldn’t afford it and I didn’t want to go somewhere I would be limited by budget cuts.”

Aside from cheaper tuition, Torpey said she chose to attend WWU for low costs of living.

“I’m glad I decided to go out-of-state because it’s cheaper and I have more access to classes,” Torpey said. “I just wish I could be closer to friends and family.”

While WWU’s out-of-state tuition fees aren’t comparable to counterpart UC fees, Torpey said the difference in in-state tuition is even more startling.

“It’s really unfair to California residents,” Torpey said. “For Washington residents, it’s only $5,000 a year for tuition.”

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