Amid hundreds of protesting students and opposition from Governor Jerry Brown, a UC Board of Regents committee voted to move forward with a plan to increase tuition by 5 percent each year over the next five years. The full board will vote on the matter on Thursday.
UC officials have not shied away from advocating for the proposal, which would increase annual tuition from about $12,200 to about $15,600 by 2019. UC President Janet Napolitano argued the state has slashed nearly $1 billion in state funding in the last few years and that state funding per student has dropped more than 50 percent since 2007-2008. The new plan, Napolitano contended, would eliminate the need for a massive tuition hike in the future. “It allows our campus leaders and the faculty to know on a multi-year basis what their budgets are likely to be so that they, in turn, can better plan for the future,” she said Wednesday morning.
Governor Brown, who serves as a UC Regent, along with other elected officials, vehemently objected to the plan, calling for other ways to cut back on expenses. Assemblymember Das Williams, who chairs the State Assembly’s committee on higher education, also opposed the move. He argued citizens should not have to chose between increased fees and access to quality education. “The prosperity of our state depends on qualified and prepared individuals in our workforce; students alone should not have to carry the financial burden of their education,” he said in a statement.
According to UC officials, about 55 percent of undergraduates receive grants that pay for their full tuition, and just under 50 percent of undergraduates graduate with no loan debt. Further, students who come from families that bring in between $80,000 and $150,000 a year receive, on average, $8,000 in grants and scholarships.
In September, four chancellors, including UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang, received a 20 percent pay raise. Yang’s paycheck increased from about $325,000 to close to $390,000 in base pay. Napolitano contended at the time that this raise was an effort to balance the pay scale and that competitive salaries are necessary for the best talent.