Editor, Daily Nexus,
While providing important information about how budget cuts may impact UC, your story, “UC Regents To Vote on Tuition” (Daily Nexus, May 7, 2003) significantly overstated the fee increase the regents will consider at their May 14-15 meeting.
Governor Gray Davis’ 2003-04 budget assumes that mandatory system-wide fees for UC resident undergraduates will increase next year by $795, on top of the $405 annualized fee increase already implemented in Spring 2003. This would bring the total fee increase to $1,200 over a two-year period, rather than $1,995 stated in your story.
If the regents approve the fee increase, average UC undergraduate fees for California residents will stand at $5,082. Total estimated fees at UCSB, excluding health insurance, would stand at $5,053, which is $915 lower than the number quoted in your story.
UC is concerned about the cost of education and, as your story mentions, is increasing financial aid awards to mitigate the impact of fee increases on low-income students.
The proposed fee increase is only one part of the broader budget solution at UC. Our first priority has been to minimize the impact of California’s fiscal crisis on the educational program. As a result, all other areas of the budget have already been cut substantially and staff and faculty salaries have fallen behind the market. We were reluctant to propose a large fee increase to the regents. However, the staggering magnitude of the state’s budget crisis, now estimated at $35 billion, calls for a balanced package of solutions if we are to preserve access and quality in the student instructional program.