University of California to raise fees soon

first_imgUniversity of California students are bracing for higher college costs after the UC administration proposed fee increases for the next term on Wednesday, with even more increases expected for the 2010-11 school year.Despite an influx of money from the federal stimulus package, the California government reduced the UC budget by $100 million for 2008-09 in permanent, one-time cuts, and expects to cut next year’s budget by $637 million. The cuts prompted the UC administration, which already raised student fees at the start of this academic year, to meet in San Francisco this week to consider a proposal for further fee hikes.The proposal that the administration provided to the Board of Regents — the governing body of the UC schools — stated that as a result of losing necessary government funding, the UC schools will be forced to cancel classes, lay off faculty members and close several student service programs unless they can generate more revenue without the government’s assistanceUC spokesman Ricardo Vázquez said increasing fees was necessary to maintain the high quality of UC’s education.“We do realize raising fees is something we don’t like to do,” he said. “We know it’s not good for students, but it’s something we have to do because it threatens the quality of education that the university provides.”The UC administration proposed raising fees mid-year from this fall’s $7,788 to $8,373 for California resident undergraduate students, an increase of $585. Nonresident undergraduate students will see their fees raised by $633.“Students have been asked to do much, but if we can maintain our quality, our dedication to educational excellence, you also will continue to receive much. Your University of California degree will continue to have meaning,” Yudof said in a press release.The Board will vote on the proposed fee increases in November.“The state now funds each student by about half of what it did only two decades ago,” said UC President Mark G. Yudof in a press release. “Students have been forced to pick up some of the difference, because when it comes to our core funding, there are only two primary sources — taxpayer dollars from the state and fees paid by students.”Students in semester system schools will pay the increased fees from the beginning of the 2009-2010 spring semester and students in quarter system schools will pay the fees over the winter and spring quarters.In addition to the mid-year fee hikes, the proposal also suggests increasing fees for the 2010-11 school year to $10,302 for undergraduate California residents and $11,160 for undergraduate nonresidents, a nearly 30 percent increase in overall fees compared to 2008-09.The total fee increases, including those for graduate students, would generate $117.3 million in revenue that would offset some of the effects of the budget cuts.“If there is a fee increase approved, we would [set] aside an equivalent of 33 percent of revenue generated of the increase for financial aid to mitigate the impact of higher fees on lower and middle income students,” Vázquez said.In November, the Board is also expected to consider a proposal to cut freshman enrollment by an additional 2,300 students, similar to a reduction this school year, the Los Angeles Times reported.UC campuses are also in the process of reducing instructional budgets, laying off 1,900 employees, eliminating 3,800 positions and deferring the hiring of nearly 1,600 positions. This would reduce the shortfall caused by the budget cuts, according to a press release.The Board of Regents meeting was accompanied by about 100 students and employees protesting the fee hikes. The protests resulted in 14 arrests by the University of California police for trespassing and unlawful assembly on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported.A number of faculty, staff and students are also planning a systemwide walkout on Sept. 24, the first day of the fall term at many of the UC campuses.Although UC is turning to students to generate more revenue, private universities like USC are not directly affected by the UC fee increase proposal.There may be several indirect effects on USC, however.Katerina Aleksandrova, a senior at Calabasas High School, said she would prefer to attend a private university if both were to cost about the same, because of proposed California public school fee raises.“I think if I get into all the schools I applied to, I would rather go to a private university rather than pay for a UC school,” she said.Two UC campuses have already had to cancel some classes and class sections to deal with the budget cuts. UC Berkeley reported an 8 percent reduction in offered classes for 2008-09 compared to the previous year, which Vázquez said was not a dramatic decrease.Austin Okeke, a sophomore at UCLA majoring in biology, said he is already noticing the effects of the budget cuts because he is having trouble registering for his concentration’s required classes for the upcoming fall quarter.“My major has a lot of requirements and it would be difficult to miss out on taking a certain class one quarter when everyone else in my major has to take that same class,” he said.Okeke said the proposed fee increase would complicate his future method of payment for college.“The more that the fees are raised increases my dependence on loans. It’s more money that I have to worry about paying back,” he said. “With the way the economy is now, for example, my dad works for an engineering company; he’s not working as regularly, so it becomes more difficult on him to worry about making payments.”Ian Drayer, a sophomore at UCLA majoring in applied mathematics, said he will not need to worry about potential fee increases.“Being from out of state, we were expecting the same fees as a private institution which, coming in, is the same about as the new fees will be … out-of-state tuition included,” Drayer said.last_img read more