A San Francisco appeals court has upheld a decision ordering the University of California to pay its former professional students a $33.8 million payout awarded in a 2006 class action lawsuit.

The UC has stated that it is reviewing its options and is considering appealing the decision, which was originally levied by a San Francisco judge in California’s Supreme Court.

In 2002, eight professional school students alleged a fee increase at the time constituted a breach of contract, as the University had promised to lock in tuition rates for students entering the programs in 1999 and 2000. Last Saturday, the court agreed, finding that the UC system had made just such a promise through printed materials that include brochures and its websites. The UC Berkeley and UC Los Angeles professional programs were named in the suit.

Three groups of students will benefit from the decision: about 9,000 enrolled in professional programs before 2002 and about 48,000 who attended spring or summer sessions in 2003.

The student refunds will range from a few hundred dollars to over $10,000 in certain cases.