National Beat Reporter
At the UC Board of Regents meeting held this Wednesday at UCLA, UC Regents overheard students, UC employees, and other individuals’ concerns on a variety of topics, most prominently, the proposed tuition hike for non-California residents.
Despite vocal opposition to tuition hikes, the Board ultimately voted 12-3 on Thursday to increase non-resident tuition by 3.5 percent, meaning nonresident students will have to pay $978 more in tuition.
UCSB Lobby Corps, who was present at Wednesday’s meeting, has taken a strong stance against the tuition increase for nonresident students, lobbying representatives at the state capitol for increased funding for UC.
Mayela Morales, a fourth-year global and Chican@ studies double major and internal director for UCSB Lobby Corps, expressed worry over the future of tuition at UC.
“I am now even more afraid that the regents will also motion to approve a tuition increase for in-state tuition. This is why all students need to come together and advocate for an increase in funding into education,” said Morales.
At the last UC Board of Regents meeting in January, the Board postponed a vote to increase base tuition, which both resident and non-resident students are subject to, to May.
Before opening the board meeting up to public comment, UC Regent Chair George Kieffer provided some date on UC finances noting that “core funds have not kept pace with increased enrollment” and that “UC now has 31 percent less available funding per student than it had in 2000.”
Another data point Kieffer touched on was the growth of the student-to-faculty ratio throughout the UC system. In 2010, the ratio was 24 students to one faculty, but the latest data from 2015 places the ratio at 25.6, higher than other public university systems’ and private institutions’ student-faculty ratios.
One of the first speakers to voice opposition to tuition hikes was Delaine Eastin, a former UC regent and current candidate for Californian governor. She said that in the eight years she served as a regent they did not increase tuition.
“When I grew up in California, every kid was promised a wonderful future,” Eastin said. She emphasized the need for the state and UC to recommit to affordable higher education for all students.
Rigel Robinson, UC Berkeley Associated Students External Affairs Vice President and a nonresident student, commented that as nonresident tuition rises becoming a student at a UC campus grows in difficulty across all socioeconomic classes.
“We can’t leave nonresident students off the table,” Robinson said.
Back in January of 2017, UC Regents approved a 2.5 percent increase in tuition, leaving nonresident students to pay $42,423 in tuition and student fees for the 2017-2018 school year.
The proposed tuition hikes for nonresident students have the potential to add additional financial hardship for undocumented students, said Lilian Moran, speaking on behalf of the UC Undocumented Student Coalition and IDEAS at UCLA.
“With the tuition hike these students will be paying more than they are already paying,” Moran said at the meeting. “There are cases of students paying $8,000 out of pocket each quarter
Kristin Hsu, UCSB’s AS External VP for Statewide Affairs, asked for the Regents to invest in students so they may have the means to succeed just as students are investing in the UC, “no tuition increases for any students,” Hsu said.
The financial hardship that a tuition hike can impose on international students was brought up by Ayesha Swillam, an international student from Pakistan and member of the International Student Coalition at UCLA.
Swillam notes that as an international student she is often categorized as a “cash cow” for the UC, but states she fears that with a tuition increase she may have to go back home.
As the board meeting continued shouts of protest against a tuition increase broke out after an individual had been denied the opportunity to speak due to the closure of public comment already.
Near the close of the board meeting, UC President Janet Napolitano recommended that UC increase its undergraduate, nonresident supplemental tuition by 3.5 percent.
“Revenue generated by the increase is critically important to preserving efforts to support student success at university campuses,” Napolitano said.