In a 13-7 vote, the UC Board of Regents approved a plan that allows them to increase tuition by as much as five percent each year over the next five years. Unless the state kicks in additional revenue, annual UC tuition will increase from $12,200 to about $15,600 by 2019.
Where UC officials have said the hike is necessary to sustain the “world class” and “public-serving” university system, Governor Jerry Brown and several elected officials who serve as regents have opposed the increase, calling for creative ways to reduce overall cost while still improving quality. Among the votes against the proposal were from Brown, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
Hundreds protested the regents’ meeting in San Fransisco on Wednesday and Thursday, aiming much of their frustrations at the regents and UC President Napolitano — former Arizona governor and former Secretary of Homeland Security — who took the helm of the 10-campus system last year.
UCSB Associated Students President Ali Guthy said students have been writing their student loan debt amounts on a public chalk board in protest, and a rally was held at Storke Tower on Thursday afternoon to discuss the issue. System-wide, a website page titled “Fund the UC Campaign” was created to give students a voice on affordability, accessibility, and quality, Guthy said.
Guthy, who traveled up to the meeting in San Francisco yesterday, argued the state needs to be held accountable for investing in public education. “If we get more state funding, [tuition] won’t go up,” Guthy said. “My perspective is that, yes, the responsibility is in the hands of Napolitano and the regents. But a big chunk of this is the responsibility of the state. The master plan for education is that everyone would have the access to quality and affordable education.”