UC freezes undergraduate tuition for Calif. students

University of California, Riverside

University of California, Riverside

Undergraduate California students at University of California campuses will see no tuition hikes for the next two years. In a statement from the UC Office of the President released May 14, UC President Janet Napolitano announced an agreement was made with Governor Jerry Brown to provide “significant” new revenue. The increase in funding will allow the UC to keep resident undergraduate tuition at the current level of approximately $12,200 per year for the next two years.

The announcement comes months after the UC Board of Regents voted to increase tuition by up to five percent every year for the next five years. Before and after the November Board of Regents vote, UC students throughout California protested the tuition hikes. On many campuses, students took over administration buildings and conducted sit-ins demanding no tuition increases. In January, Governor Jerry Brown and Napolitano formed a two-person committee to study spending and revenue of the University of California.

The tuition cap for resident students was part of Governor Brown’s revised budget released May 14. Other items the revised budget promises to do is “pay down debt and [save] for a rainy day,” increase K-12 and community college funding, and help low-income Californians by establishing an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The budget also will expand the state’s efforts to combat climate change and respond to the drought.

The agreement between Governor Brown and Napolitano provides significant new revenue. There will be a four percent base budget increase every year for the next four years. There will be $436 million provided over three years to cover the UC’s pension obligations. In 2015-16, $25 million will be allocated for deferred maintenance and $25 million to support energy efficiency. Lastly, the regents can authorize an annual eight percent tuition increase for non-California residents.

The agreement also says the University of California will continue or expand their efforts to help California students. The UC will ensure at least one third of all new students are transfer students. In addition, they will eliminate “course bottlenecks” and improve academic advising. There will also be a pathway to a three-year undergraduate degree and they will continue to explore efficiency.

“Governor Brown and I were both focused on the future of California as we worked towards this agreement, which will enable the University of California to continue its role as the nation’s preeminent research university, Napolitano said. “Now the University of California will turn to our state legislators for their much-needed support of the proposed budget and for funding to enroll more California students.”

The terms of the agreement will be presented to the Board of Regents on May 21. California lawmakers now have until Jun. 15 to pass the budget bill.

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