University of California to Vote on Increasing Tuition

University of California to Vote on Increasing Tuition
Students walk through the University of California–Irvine campus in Irvine, Calif., on Sept. 25, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Vanessa Serna

The University of California (UC) will decide on July 22 whether to raise tuition, despite recently receiving nearly $1.3 billion in state funding.

“I firmly believe keeping tuition stable within our public university system is critical, and do not support a tuition increase at this time,” Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) told The Epoch Times. “Families have been struggling during the pandemic, and this year has been difficult enough for so many Californians.”

The proposed tuition for incoming freshmen would increase by at least two percent plus inflation, beginning fall 2022, bringing tuition for students up by hundreds of dollars in comparison to the current statewide yearly UC tuition cost of $12,570.

If passed, UC would raise tuition for each incoming class. The amount will remain in effect for six years, beginning at the time of enrollment.

The proposed increase being presented to the UC Board of Regents was initially brought forward in March 2020, only to be deferred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

California’s 2021–22 state budget provides the University of California with $1.27 billion, the largest single-year funding increase. However, the university said it’s not enough.

According to a statement released by the UC system, the proposed adjustments to tuition are a result of “mandatory cost increases and high-priority investments each year that must be addressed for the university to ensure that current and future generations of UC students from all socioeconomic backgrounds have access to the same world-class educational opportunities enjoyed by past generations.”

The statement also said that enrollment growth and cost increases exceed the state’s capabilities, especially since tuition has been consistent.

Currently, universities are facing a worsening student-to-facility ratio, lack of staff support to keep up with growing enrollment, maintenance needs that can’t be addressed, and more. The Board of Regents said it believes the tuition adjustments would help address those issues.

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis said a tuition hike was not the answer.

“When I attended @BerkeleyHaas in 1990 I paid $4,000 in tuition and fees per year,” Kounalakis said July 13 on Twitter. “That same program is now over $64K per year. The cost of public higher ed is too high and increasing tuition is not the answer. I stand with students against the proposed tuition increases.”

The US Board of Regents will gather on July 22 to cast their votes.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the UC Board of Regents for comment.