National Beat Reporter
The University of California Board of Regents have scheduled a vote on a 2.5 percent tuition increase for the first time since 2011.
“A six-year tuition freeze, coupled with rising California student enrollment and state funding that hasn’t fully recovered from recession-era cuts has resulted in a critical need to invest more in core student services and academic excellence,” the UC Newsroom reported.
The Board of Regents will vote on a tuition increase of $282 at the bi-monthly board meeting held at UC San Francisco Jan. 25 and 26. A $54 student fee will also be held in consideration, designed to supplement mental health resources.
According to UC Spokeswoman Dianne Klein, approximately two-thirds of the California-resident UC undergraduates – roughly 175,500 students – would have the tuition increase be covered by financial aid.
“More than half of California undergraduates have all of their tuition and fees completely covered by financial aid,” Klein said. “That will continue to be the case.”
Nonresident students will pay the same increases in tuition and fees but face a five percent spike in their out-of-state supplemental tuition, resulting in a total increase of $1,668.
UC tuition has remained the same despite the decrease of state funding. According to UC Spokeswoman Claire Doan, the state of California covered 72 percent of the cost of educating a UC student in 2000 compared to 41 percent in 2015.
In 2015, the regents voted to increase tuition up to 5 percent for the next five years but stayed stayed stagnant for two years, resulting from a budget and tuition agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano. The temporary relief was awarded to in-state undergraduate students, but nonresident students were still subject to tuition increases.
In the same 2015 budget agreement, the UC system agreed to admit an additional 10,000 students in exchange for more state funding. In 2016, the UC enrolled approximately 5,000 more students.
The movements leading to tuition increases have faced a string of student-led protests.
In response to the 2015 tuition-freeze, UCSB students took a stand by vocalizing this interim substitute was not enough. The Office of External Vice President of Statewide Affairs organized the “We’re fUCked” campaign, with over 150 students congregating at Storke Tower.
“While the frozen in-state tuition is a small victory, we definitely acknowledge the fact that a percentage of our students are still getting fUCked,” said Kristin Hsu, the EVPSA office fellow and key organizer of the 2015 protest.
When the tuition hike was publicly discussed in November, approximately 150 UCSB students responded in a class walkout. Waves of students marched throughout campus, waving bold posters saying “Do UC My Debt” and “Sentenced to Debt.”
An additional walkout was staged the following month, organized by the Student Activism Network. A bold “Fight Tuition Hikes” banner stretched across the front of Campbell hall where students had congregated.
Ingrid Feeney, a PhD student in the anthropology department, shared her financial struggles in pursuing higher education.
“Working-class students should not have to mortgage their future away to get an education,” Feeney said to Noozhawk. “In this economy, you almost need a master’s degree (to get a job). It’s hard to get that degree without going into debt.”