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2014 November 24 - 01:35 am

UC To Consider Tuition Hike Over Five Years

Plan Would Lift Tuition Freeze for 10-Campus California System

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tuition at the University of California’s 10 campuses would rise by as much as 5 percent in each of the next five years under a plan UC President Janet Napolitano presented to the system’s governing board.

The proposal, which follows three years in which tuition rates have remained frozen, would increase the average annual cost of a UC education for California residents pursuing undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees in academic as opposed to professional disciplines from $12,192 to up to $12,804 next fall and $15,564 in the fall of 2019.

Napolitano said the five-year framework fulfills a goal she set when she assumed the president’s office last year of making “modest” tuition hikes a predictable part of the university’s budget so both families and campuses can know what to expect and plan accordingly.

“We are being honest, being honest with Californians in terms of cost and also ensuring that we are continuing to maintain the University of California in terms of academic excellence, in terms of its moment, in terms of being really an engine of mobility,” she said in an interview.

The 5 percent figure assumes state funding for the university will go up by about $120 million, or 4 percent each year, which Napolitano said is inadequate given ongoing cost increases, the pressure campuses are feeling to enroll more students and funding cuts made during the recession that have left taxpayersupport for the part of the budget that goes for educating students $460 million below what it was six years ago.

A bigger boost in state funding would reduce or eliminate the need for the proposed tuition hikes, she said. For every additional $20 million, the planned tuition increase could be reduced by 1 percent, UC spokesman Steve Montiel said.

“What we want to be is very upfront with the governor and the Legislature. We know the assumptions we have been asked to work with,” Napolitano said. “But we will have for them a ‘what that then means for tuition,’ and therefore they will be able to ascertain. And people who don’t want a tuition increase, this is where the fight is.”

A series of increases that have nearly doubled UC tuition during the last eight years sparked protests at many campuses and drew complaints that California was abandoning its commitment to a new generation of college students.

But Napolitano said that because nearly 55 percent of UC undergraduates receive incomebased financial aid that fully covers their tuition, the impact of the increase she is proposing would mostly affect students who can afford to pay it.

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