Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his state budget proposal yesterday, one that could lead to fee increases for UC undergraduate and graduate students.
According to a University of California press release, UC undergrads may see as much as a 7 percent fee increase, and students at selected UC professional schools may see a 10 percent fee increase. In addition, staff and faculty may see a raise in their compensation.
The potential fee increases result in part from California’s $4 billion budget deficit. State budget deficits have traditionally been cited as the reason for raising student fees.
The UC Board of Regents will discuss the final changes to the UC budget and its fees at its next meeting, scheduled for March 14-15 meeting at UCLA.
Associated Students External Vice President of Statewide Affairs Bill Shiebler said the University of California Student Association is planning a call-in to Schwarzenegger’s office today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to protest the fee increase. Also, he said he is planning to speak with Santa Barbara Assembly Representative Pedro Nava and UC President Robert Dynes about the proposed budget.
“This is the fourth time fees have increased over five years,” Shiebler, who is also the UCSA president, said.
Shiebler said student fees have been increasing since 2002, with the exception of last year, when the Governor bought out the fees using additionally provided state funds.
“This is betrayal,” Shiebler said. “It’s obvious that freezing fees was an election stunt.”
Anthony Simbol, Principal Fiscal and Policy Analyst at the State Legislative Analyst’s Office, said increased fees are a result of inflation, increased healthcare costs and employee benefits.
“Fees need to reflect the increasing cost of many services,” Simbol said.
According to Simbol, elevated fees would divert more money toward financial aid programs, such as the Cal Grant Awards – state funded grants provided students to pay for college fees.
“The fees are providing direct subsidies to those with financial need,” Simbol said.
UCSA Organizing Director Ruth Obel-Jorgensen said the fee increases would cause students to take out more loans.
“It’s now on student’s families to come up with more money to pay for public education,” Obel-Jorgensen said.
In additional to potentially raising student fees, the governor’s budget would set aside a 5 percent pool for UC employee compensation increases, including wage increases based on several factors. Schwarzenegger also proposes lease revenue bonds for scientific projects throughout the UC, including $30 million to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to create sustainable, carbon-neutral sources of energy.