The UC Board of Regents voted yesterday to confirm the 32 percent student fee increase.
During the final day of their meeting, board members cast their votes — with only one dissenting — to hike mandatory systemwide undergraduate student fees to over $10,000 next year. The increase will occur in two stages, with the first 15 percent spiking midyear fees from $7,788 to $8,373 and the next 15 percent upping 2010-11 fees to $10,302. This fee hike marks the ninth time in seven years that the UC Regents approved an increase in undergraduate tuition fees. Student Regent Jesse Bernal, a UCSB graduate student, cast the only vote against the proposal.
The $813 million dollar funding deficit handed by Sacramento to the UC this year was an unavoidable elephant in the room for the three-day Regents’ meeting. Throughout the course of the gathering, UC executives pointed an accusatory finger at the state capitol for failing California’s public university system. Students, staff and faculty, however, were more prone to raise a different finger in the Regents’ direction — several UC campuses even had large protests yesterday that closed university business for at least several hours.
Protests continued to shake up the meeting at UCLA yesterday. According to reports from the conference, which was held inside of UCLA’s Covel Commons, between 30 and 50 students even staged a takeover of a campus hall and chained the building’s doors shut.
According to reports from newspapers in the Santa Cruz area, between two and three hundred student protesters occupied UCSC’s Clark Kerr Hall. Hundreds more students were reported to be occupying the two entrances to the Santa Cruz campus and its Kresge Town Hall. Staff even evacuated Clark Kerr Hall at one point for safety reasons, releases stated.
On Wednesday, the board’s finance committee endorsed the UC’s 2010-11 budget, asking for $913 million of funding from the state. They also approved the 32 percent fee increase and upped the UC’s coverage of lower-income students through its Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan. On Thursday, the full board confirmed these decisions, and also decided to partner up with L.A. County to reopen the Martin Luther King Jr.- Harbor Hospital by late 2012 through the creation of a private, non-profit corporation.
According to a UC Office of the President press release, this first increment of the spike equates to $585 more in tuition, which will be followed by the other 15 percent increase — roughly $1,334 — in Summer 2010. In addition, graduate academic students will have to pay 2.6 percent more in tuition, about $111, by Spring 2010, followed by a 15 percent jump in the summer. Students enrolled in professional schools, depending on program and university, are set for spikes in fees ranging from $280 to $5,696.
Per Yudof’s promise to the UC, 33 percent of expected revenue from the fee hike — estimated to be $175 million out of a projected $505 million — will be set aside for financial aid expenditures. Additionally, the changes to the UC Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan approved yesterday expanded its maximum household income requirements, qualifying students of families earning less than $70,000 a year for full tuition coverage. The previous maximum income standard was $60,000.
In fact, according to UCOP, increases to UC Grants, Cal Grants, Federal Pell Grants and expanded federal tuition tax credits are estimated to mitigate the 2009-10 fee increases for nearly 75 percent of undergrads whose families earn less than $180,000.