The UC Regents have postponed the vote on increasing student fees until they know more about the state budget.

The regents were scheduled to vote on a proposal this week that would increase student tuition. Recent proposals in the legislature that could lead to further cuts to UC’s budget prompted the regents to delay the vote in order to avoid another fee hike in the future, a press release from the UC Office of the President said.

“It seems prudent to address these issues in a single action, rather than acting now and returning again in a few weeks for another vote – an approach that could produce considerable confusion for students and their families,” UC President Richard Atkinson said in the press release. “In the meantime, we will continue working aggressively in Sacramento to fight any additional budget cuts that could lead to further fee increases or program reductions.”

An increase in student fees of $795 starting Fall 2003 was proposed to the regents, in addition to the $405 increase already implemented this quarter.

Discussion and public comment on the possible increases is still scheduled to take place, despite the delay in a vote on the issue by the regents.

Atkinson said he would like to give students and parents as much advance notice as possible of any possible increases to the Fall 2003 tuition. He plans to present a final fee increase recommendation to the regents at their July meeting or at a special meeting in June.

“Because many students will be away from campus at that time, I want to be clear that I welcome their input on fees at the May meeting,” Atkinson said. “It is one of the primary reasons that I want to proceed with the fee discussion despite delaying the action.”

The delay of the vote may be related to the release of Gov. Gray Davis’ revision of the state budget on May 14. The revised budget will factor in tax filings so the legislature has a better idea of how much revenue the state can expect next year.

The revised budget should not put California’s budget crisis in a better light, said Jerry Kissler, assistant vice president for budget planning and fiscal analysis for the UCOP.

“Every indication we have right now is that the governor will probably release estimates that are lower than the ones that he had in January, so the situation has gotten worse,” Kissler said in a May 7 conference call.