When students arrive at UCSB in the fall, their pockets may be a little emptier than the previous year.

A proposal before University of California Board of Regents would increase in-state tuition by $1,200 per undergraduate for the regular school year, starting Fall Quarter. If the Regents approve the increase, it would bring the annual in-state tuition rates to approximately $4,600 per undergraduate student each year. The Regents will vote on the proposal at their May 14 meeting.

The proposed total annual tuition of $4,600 does not include other fees specific to each campus, such as UCSB Associated Students’ lock-in fees. If the proposed increased fees are added to the current tuition fee and campus specific fees, the tuition per undergraduate student per regular school year could be as high as $5,000 each year, depending on the campus. Enrollment fees at UCSB would rise to $5,968.63 per year for students paying in-state tuition. Graduate students’ tuition fees would also increase, but the exact amount varies with each graduate program. The proposed increase is in response to Gov. Davis’ 2003-04 proposed budget, in which the UC stands to take significant cuts, Hanan Eisenman, UC spokesman for admissions, said.

“The Governor, in his 2003-2004 budget, assumed the increase in mandatory statewide tuition increases would make up for the budget shortfall,” Eisenman said.

The Regents approved an in-state tuition raise of $405 per undergraduate student per year in December 2002. Part of that raise took effect this quarter when tuition increased by $135. The remaining tuition increase from the December 2002 vote will take effect in fall 2003. The newly proposed fee increase would be added to the December 2002 increases, and would leave students paying $1,995 more per year for tuition compared to tuition rates quoted for the 2002-03 year.

The UC has asked the state for fee increases that are regular, predictable, manageable and understood in advance, rather than going through big boom-and-bust cycles, said Jerry Kissler, UC assistant vice president for budget planning and fiscal analysis.

“In spite of the importance of higher education to the economy and the quality of life, we’re assuming that the University is going to be expected to share in the solutions that occur to the legislature and to the Governor this spring,” Kissler said.

Students should not worry about the tuition fee increases, said Kate Jeffery, director of student financial support for the UC Office of the President.

“First and most important, UC will cover the full amount of the fee increase for all grant eligible students,” she said. “We’ll do this either through additional PEL grant dollars for PEL grant recipients, or through additional UC grant dollars from a return to aid from the fee increase revenue.”

The full tuition increase grant applies to students whose parents’ combined annual income is less than $60,000 per year. Jeffery said the grants would offset the fee increase for about 40 percent of UC undergraduate students.

Students whose parents’ combined annual income is between $60,000 and $90,000 are eligible to receive a special UC grant to pay for half of the tuition fee increases. If a student’s parents’ combined annual income is more than $90,000, Jeffrey said the University would “exercise professional judgement” to make aid available to students in this category who need it.

“The bottom line is that, with this additional grant assistance that the University’s providing, there shouldn’t be students [who are] denied access to UC as a result of the fee increase,” Jeffery said.

UC budget cuts are a result of California’s ongoing budget crisis that was set in motion by the dot com bust in the late 1990s and the national recession that followed it.

“The problem for the state is huge. The Governor, in January, estimated the size of the problem to be about $35 billion,” Kissler said. “It’s a huge amount of money on a state budget that’s only about $77 billion, so this is a huge problem for the state of California.”

The UC receives a subsidy from the state of California, paid for by California taxpayers, in the form of an annual state appropriation. The state has increased the subsidy to the UC for the last eight years, but with the state’s budget shortfall, the subsidy will be reduced.

“What’s happening here is that the subsidy is being cut. So when the subsidy goes down, we have to raise the fees to make up for the difference,” Kissler said. “If we don’t do that, it’ll have a direct impact on the instructional program and we don’t want that to happen.”

UC budget cuts, amounting to over $784 million, have either already occurred or will occur in the future, Kissler said.

“Because the University believes strongly in low-cost public higher education, we cut budgets first when this crisis occurred, we allowed our salaries to fall below market, but reluctantly we finally had to deal with fee increases,” Kissler said. “The cuts are so big that all segments of the university community, including students, are going to be impacted by these cuts.”

Kissler said the recently completed contract negotiations with the Coalition of University Employees (C.U.E.) are a separate and unrelated issue and negotiations with C.U.E. for future work contracts should continue as planned.