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UC students to see additional 9.6 percent tuition increase

POSTED July 15, 2011 10:45 p.m.

Following in the footsteps of the California State University system, the University of California Board of Regents on Thursday approved a tuition increase in response to massive state budget cuts.

All UC students will now see an additional 9.6 percent, $1,068 tuition increase, effective this fall.

"Faced with enormous financial cuts forced on us by political leaders, we only have a handful of options open to us, and all are horrible options," said Regent Bonnie Reiss. "As much as I hate voting for this increase, I hate even more letting this institution slide into mediocrity."

The tuition increase will come on top of a previously approved 8 percent tuition increase, which will also take effect in the fall. In total, students face a $1,818 year-over-year cost increase. The academic year beginning in August will tally $12,192 in tuition – not counting campus-specific fees.

About 55 percent of UC students – those covered by financial aid – will see no tuition increase. Tuition will still be covered via grants and gift aid for all students whose family incomes are less than $80,000 per year, while those with families earning up to $120,000 will receive a one-year grant to cover the new fee increase. The UC said it will work to further expand financial aid for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The measure, approved by a 14-4 vote, was part of a plan to shed $1 billion from the UC budget through higher tuition, cost-savings measures, and increasing the number of more profitable out-of-state enrollments.

The changes were driven by a $650 million year-over-year reduction in state support for the UC, following state budget cuts, and $362.5 million in cost increases related mainly to student benefits. The UC also faces a further, possible $100 million reduction in state funding, should the state not hit revenue targets.

Not counting that possible cut, the UC’s state funding has dropped 27.1 percent over the last four years. A $3.25 billion state appropriation in 2007-2008 has fallen to $2.37 billion in 2011-2012.

Given the magnitude of the cuts, the UC said it had no choice but to raise tuition to maintain the UC’s academic rigor.

“Quality just cannot go down,” UC Provost Lawrence Pitts said. “We have a much greater risk of losing future students not from having the costs go up, but because the quality goes down.”

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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