The UC Board of Regents will meet next week at UC San Francisco Mission Bay to discuss the possibility of either a 20.3 percent mid-year tuition hike or a tuition freeze, depending on whether Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative passes in November.
UC President Mark Yudof will address the board with requests to endorse the state budget and November tax initiative, The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012, which would prevent an expected $250 million cut to the UC while also allowing the University to freeze tuition through a state buyout of $125.4 million.
The measure would increase income taxes on households earning over $250,000 and raise the sales tax by a quarter of a cent to generate revenue for various health services previously cut by the state. If Brown’s measure fails, the UC budget would face a total shortcoming of $375.4 million, forcing UC campuses to face yet another mid-year trigger cut. This would result in a tuition increase of 20.3 percent, pushing in-state undergraduate tuition up $12,192 to $14,670.
Darius Kemp, director of communications for UC Student Association, said securing any kind of long-term funding will remain an obstacle for the UC system. According to Kemp, the state buyout is only a temporary fix that ignores the “systemic problems” that persist in the current state funding structure.
“The buyout is not a permanent thing … it’s kind of a one-time deal,” Kemp said.
According to UC Media Relations Director Steve Montiel, Yudof’s proposal calls for official support of the state budget’s framework and Brown’s tax initiative — which would be the university’s only source of additional state revenue — as well as a tuition freeze for 2012-2013 if the measure passes. However, the endorsement proposals are complicated by the board’s restrictions on offering such political support, according to Montiel, who added that more members may come to individually support the new tax.
“The limitations are that university resources cannot campaign for a ballot measure,” Montiel said. “The initiative only recently qualified for the ballot and the state budget was only recently approved, so there was a lot that was unknown until now.”
Yudof’s action item states that the UC system has eliminated or consolidated over 180 programs and terminated at least 4,200 staff in order to minimize past tuition hikes. With UC staff and resources already drastically reduced, the university will be left scrambling if voters overturn the measure, according to UC Spokesperson Lynn Tierney.
“It’s going to be quite disastrous if we end up facing that eventuality,” Tierney said.
The meeting’s discussions will also touch on possible multi-year funding agreements with the state that could increase funding for higher education beginning in 2013-2014.