Despite Public and Student Opposition, UC Board of Regents Raise Tuition

KFBK Poll: Do you think tuition should be increased at UC Campuses

Yes

24%
24%

No

71%
71%

Unsure

4%
4%

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Amid protests, the University of California’s Board of Regents voted 14 to 7 in favor of raising the cost of tuition 5 percent annually over the next 5 years. The vote ended a 3-year freeze. The regents’ plan is focused on raising staff quality and bringing up admission levels within the ten-campus system. Despite possible admission boosts, future UC students and families will pay an additional $600-$700 in fees.

The regents consists of 26 members, only one of which, Sadia Saifuddin, is appointed by the student body with “full powers of organization and governance” detailed in section 9 of Article 1X of the state Constitution. A tentative vote of 7-2 on Wednesday alluded to the likelihood of an increase.

The proposed increase of 5 percent annually will raise tuition costs from $12,804 during Fall 2015 to about $15,564 by Fall 2019. Students with family incomes over $175,000 a year would likely be able to afford the price of the increase while students of families with lesser income are expected to rely more on financial aid.

Janet Napolitano and other regents have asserted that without increased annual funding from the state, tuition hikes would be a necessary result — a proposition Governor Jerry Brown, who is also a regent, opposes.

She explained her position in an op-ed earlier in November:

“The state and the university need to invest in the academic excellence that has made UC into what is widely recognized as the best public university system in the world.”

Along with Brown and 6 other dissenting regents, Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins opposed the tuition increase. She released a statement calling for an alternative solution:

“I am extremely disappointed the UC Regents voted to raise tuition and impose new burdens on middle class students and their families. There are other steps we can take to get UC the funding it needs. I offered an alternative that would prevent tuition increases, but unfortunately a majority of Regents dismissed them, just as they dismissed the concerns of the students who traveled to the meeting to comment.”

Still, students and the public mostly support the opposition from Brown and Saifuddin.

Saifuddin’s sentiment has fueled student protests, which became increasing hostile during Wednesday’s session. Recent footage of student protesters and placards center on the disparity such a tuition increase would create. A recent poll conducted by Sacramento’s own KFBK detailed a clear separation of opinion as to whether or not an increase should take place.

While today’s vote was expected, student activists have been quick to condemn the decision online: