The UC Board of Regents met in San Francisco Wednesday to discuss a proposal to raise tuition for the first time since 2011.
UC President Janet Napolitano presented in early January the proposal to raise tuition by 2.5 percent for the 2017-18 academic year. In-state tuition has remained at $11,220 since the 2011-12 academic year, and this proposed hike will increase tuition by $282.
During the public forum, the Regents received several remarks on the tuition increase, which will be voted on during Thursday morning’s meeting. Commenters also critiqued some of the logistical problems with the UC’s intended expansion, as the UC intends to enroll an additional 10,000 students over the next three years.
Susan Willats, an employee at UC Santa Cruz for 30 years, said the University’s increased student population has caused practical issues for the school, as the amount of students it admitted increased in the fall.
“Because there was neither time nor funding to create a corresponding increase in infrastructure, we have far exceeded our resources,” she said.
Several double rooms have been converted into triples, she said, and the residential lounges have been eliminated to provide more bed space, leaving students with not enough spaces to study.
“This over-enrollment has not only added to the unsustainable workload of faculty and staff, but it has absolutely diminished the quality of the educational experience that the university provides,” Willats said.
While concerns over growth were prevalent at the public forum, many also chose to focus on the upcoming vote on Thursday to increase tuition. President of the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) and UCSF Professor Stanton Glantz was among several who spoke out against the decision.
“I appreciate the fact that it costs money to run this place and the only real two places to get it is from the taxpayers or from the students and their families,” he said. “It’s very disappointing that you are going to be continuing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s failed policy of privatization which has generated over $12 billion in student debt since 2000.”
Glantz also mentioned a report endorsed by faculty, students and staff organizations from all across UC, CSU and the community colleges that shows “the effect of the privatization and the fact that this could be fixed.” He held up the report at the public forum and encouraged that Regents use it to reform the current tuition system.
Undergraduate students as well as faculty spoke at the forum. One UC Riverside undergraduate student criticized the tuition hike, saying the UC system takes pride in its “pillars of accessibility, affordability and quality” but is “sorely deficient” on all three. She said students’ wages could not be expected to cover rising costs.
“If we place the burden of the cost of education on students who aren’t able to make above minimum wage on a part-time income to supplement the tuition costs that are already increasing, how do we reasonably expect any of them to be able to afford the increasing costs that you are trying to implement now?” she said.
Alex Lee, the president of Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD), also asked the Regents to reject the proposed hike.
“We as UC students are constantly the ones being harmed and taxed … I ask you, the Regents, to seek alternative sources of funding as well as maximize the money we currently have by cutting unnecessary expenses at the campus level and prioritize the educational experience,” Lee said. “On behalf of UC Davis and UC students, I ask you not to raise tuition.”
In reference to tomorrow’s tuition vote, Monica Lozano, the chair of the board, said she looks forward to tomorrow’s discussion in action.
The Regents plan to vote on the contentious issue of tuition hikes on Thursday morning after another session of public comment.
A version of this story appeared on p. 1 of the Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 edition of the Daily Nexus.