Regents Approve Increase in UC Fees

The University of California Board of Regents voted 15-5 to raise student tuition by eight percent during yesterday’s final day of meetings.

Their approval of an $822 tuition increase will take effect in the 2011-12 academic year, marking the tenth time in the last eight years that the board has increased educational costs. The average cost of in-state tuition will be boosted to $12,150 per year. Regents Odessa Johnson, Darek DeFreece and Charlene Zettel, along with California Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado and Student Regent Jesse Cheng were the only board members who voted against the fee increase.

The Regents also amended the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan — a UC financial aid plan that fully covers the tuition fees of California residents whose families earn less than $70,000 — to now exempt students whose annual household incomes reach up to $80,000. The board also decided to grant a one-year fee waiver for in-state students whose families earn less than $120,000.

Regents Chairman Russell Gould said the fee hike was unavoidable considering the University’s $1 billion budget deficit and the state’s projected $25.4 billion shortfall.

“It’s clear the Regents had a tough decision to raise fees,” Gould said in a UCOP press release. “The university is not out of the woods. We face the threat of mid-year state cuts and certainly cuts next year. The faculty, staff and students all have to work together for solutions.”

Additionally, the board raised professional school tuition by at least 31 percent — the cost varies by campus and program.

Together, the recently implemented UC tuition increases will contribute $115.8 million annually to the UC’s operating budget, with 33 percent of the undergraduate fee increase and half of the graduate fee hike earmarked for financial aid.

Furthermore, the board discussed a new pension policy for university employees hired after July 1, 2013. The new retirement plan would raise the minimum retirement age from 50 to 55. Workers will also not be able to receive full retirement benefits until age 65, as opposed to the previous minimum age of 60.

Under the amended policy, employees and the UC would need to contribute 7 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively, to retiree benefits.