UC Regents To Discuss More Fee Hikes This Week

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, September 14, 2009
UC officials have released a plan that calls for a 30% boost in basic student fees over the next year. That’s on top of more than $600 in fee hikes earlier this year. All totaled, it would push the cost of attending a UC to just over $10,000.
“I think that the fee increase is going to be devastating for students.”
Ricardo Gomez is a junior at UC Berkeley. He’s paying for his education with a scholarship. But Gomez says most of his friends aren’t so lucky.
“As it is, even with previous fee increases, I’ve had too many friends drop out of college or take time off from college just because they can’t afford their educations at UC.”
But officials with the ten-campus system say they’re grappling with a steep decline in state funding and face a $535 million fiscal challenge.
“…which could grow to over $600 million by next year and everything must be on the table including the possibility of fee increases.”
UC spokesman Ricardo Vazquez:
“I mean we understand that a fee increase would be painful for students. But the alternatives are also painful.”
Vazquez says those alternatives include cutting courses, increasing class sizes and eliminating student services.
“And so we’re extremely concerned these cuts are threatening the very quality of education that parents and students expect from UC.”
Vazquez says most low-income students will see an increase in financial aid and tax credits to cope with any higher fees. But UC Berkeley student Ricardo Gomez questions how university officials are prioritizing funds.  
“There’s actually money that the UC could just reallocate and not have to increase student fees.”
The UC Board of Regents is scheduled to discuss the plan this Wednesday…and isn’t expected to vote on the proposal until November.
Meantime, some UC faculty members are organizing a walkout later this month to protest budget cuts, furloughs and fee hikes.