University Of California Raises Tuition For First Time Since 2017
The University of California Board of Regents voted Thursday to increase tuition and fees at the system’s ten campuses, the first tuition hike for the University since 2017. The Board’s vote was 17 in favor and five opposed, and it came despite heated protests from student groups who had labeled the much-debated proposal a “forever hike.”
Under the plan, undergraduate tuition and fees would increase by a 2% surcharge plus inflation for the 2022-23 academic year. Officials said that would amount to an annual increase of 4.2% or $534, bringing system-wide tuition and fees to just a bit more than $13,000 a year. That amount does not include the additional fees students are charged at different campuses in the system.
The new rate would stay the same for six years for students entering in 2022-23. In subsequent years, entering students would face a tuition increase of inflation plus a gradually declining surcharge from 1.5% to .5% until academic year 2026-27, when the increases would be based on only inflation.
The proposed tuition hike was on the table last year, but was postponed by the Board in light of the ongoing financial burdens associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. In today’s action, the Board also voted to re-visit the new tuition policy in five years.
University officials defended the increase by saying that it was necessary to maintain the quality of the university’s education pay and provide more financial aid to students, which would more than make up for the tuition hike for students who had financial need. It indicated that it would spend about 45% of the additional revenue from the tuition increase on student financial aid.
MORE FOR YOU
However, Kalli Zervas, a senator with the Associated Students of the University of California at Berkeley, lambasted the decision, telling the regents, “How dare you parade yourself as a diverse system? At this rate, you might as well only accept the wealthy students, as you’re making it nearly impossible for the rest of us to attend.”
UC also claimed that even with the increase, its resident tuition would be less than many other premier public universities. According to the Associated Press, the office of the UC president said in-state tuition and campus fees at comparable public universities in Virginia, Illinois and Michigan average around $17,000, and that they had seen increases ranging from 24% to 56%. By contrast, since 2011, UC tuition has gone up 6%.
Lt. Gov. and UC Regent Elena Kounalaukis was one of five regents voting no on the plan, saying that the timing of an increase while many families were still struggling with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic was a mistake.
“I think it is the wrong time to pass a plan for tuition increases at the exact same time that the commitment of the state of California to our students has never been greater,” Kounalaukis said.