Today the University of California Board of Regents will convene to consider UC President Mark G. Yudof’s Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan. If approved, the proposal would fully cover UC systemwide fees for students from families with incomes less than $60,000.

The plan, assuming a 9.3 percent student fee increase, would cost an estimated $355 million. Cal Grants, in conjunction with various other scholarships and grants, would cover the majority of the costs. The estimated $3.1 million in remaining incremental cost would be footed by a proposed return-to-aid student fee increase.

Yudof said the measure is intended to encourage the educational pursuits of students from economically disadvantaged families.

“Despite having a robust financial aid program and enrolling more low-income students than any other top research university, UC must be able to counter effectively the perception that our costs, especially our fee charges, make us financially inaccessible to students of modest means,” Yudof said in a press release. “The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan offers a straightforward financial aid message to reassure low-income students and families that UC is financially accessible, especially during these tough economic times. The proposal’s goal is to make sure lower-income families no longer need to worry about how they will cover UC’s basic student fees.”

For students in this income bracket – who must also apply for a Cal Grant and submit necessary financial aid documents in order to be eligible – the proposal promises to extend enough scholarship and grant assistance to fully fund their systemwide UC fees for the duration of their education. Students who demonstrate significant financial need would also be candidates for further grants to fund educational expenses such as housing, books and transportation.

In addition, the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan ensures continued grant assistance sufficient to cover at least half of the annual increase in systemwide fees for undergraduates with yearly household incomes between $60,000 and $100,000.

During the meeting, the board will also discuss a proposal regarding undergraduate eligibility that would eliminate the SAT II requirement.

Meanwhile, the regents convened for the first day of meetings yesterday at the UC San Francisco campus.

On the opening day of proceedings, the regents were presented with an annual report on the Policy on Sustainable Practices, a plan designed to advance sustainable and energy-efficient practices on UC campuses. According to the report, the plan, which was set in place five years ago, has saved the University an estimated $12 million in operational savings.

Katherine N. Lapp, UC’s executive vice president for business operations, said the groundbreaking policy serves both environmental and economic functions for the University.

“Our efforts to ‘green’ the University demonstrate the power of sustainability principles to both improve the quality of the environment and provide significant financial and energy savings in operating our facilities,” Lapp said in a press release. “The achievements of the past year also underscore the University of California’s pioneering role as a national leader in sustainability practices and environmental research.”

The report also recognized UCSB for receiving Silver rating by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification standards for the Student Resource Building as well as the Recreation Center, which was awarded Silver rating for existing buildings under LEED.