Student fees are on the rise again.

With our state budget facing a $34.6 billion deficit, everyone is going to suffer, including students.

Gov. Gray Davis announced his plan to fill this budget hole, which includes over $200 million in cuts to the UC. His expectation is that student fees will be raised by 35 percent to make up the difference, according to a UC release.

As you may already know, just this past month the UC Regents approved a quarterly tuition increase of $135 to take effect this spring. Now they must decide whether to raise it an additional $795 for the 2003-04 school year to make up for the cuts from the state.

Under the governor’s proposed budget, mandatory system-wide fees for 2003-04 would be $4,629 for resident undergraduates and $4,869 for resident graduate students. For nonresident students, fees would total $18,562 for undergraduates and $18,033 for graduate students.

While Davis’ budget provides an additional $117.2 million to fund enrollment growth, funding for student outreach programs – which are geared toward more under-represented students – have been slashed in half. Student services funded by registration fees will take a 20 percent cut, research will be cut by 10 percent and no funds are provided for staff and faculty pay raises.

The UC Regents will be responsible for distributing the cuts among the UC campuses.

In a time of financial crisis we must all accept the impact, but, if passed, these staggering fee increases could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. $800 isn’t chump change, and it could potentially prevent many students from returning to the UC. It could mean getting another job for some students, and for others it might just mean writing a larger check. Whatever the personal ramifications, fee increases aren’t easily welcomed by most anyone.

We not only have the right, but the opportunity to stand up for what we believe in. Don’t wait until next year to complain to your friends about financial struggles. Don’t wait for your parents to groan about your BARC statement. Don’t wait to speak out against a fee increase! Contact the UC Regents and let your voice be heard. Let them know you won’t accept a student fee increase.

There are many students already dedicated to keeping students informed on this issue and letting the administration know they don’t support a fee increase. So be on the lookout; there will be demonstrations opposing a fee increase. There will be class presentations and fliers to educate you more on the issue. There will be tables set up around campus so you can write a postcard to the governor and our legislators. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to get involved and make your opinion known.

Because if you don’t, then who will?

The UC Regents can be contacted through the Office of the Secretary of the Regents, 1111 Franklin St., 12th floor, Oakland, CA 94607; telephone (510) 987-9220; fax (510) 987-9224.

Marissa Brown is a freshman political science major.