2011-07-15 "UC tuition hits $12,192 - a 9.6 percent increase" by Nanette Asimov from "San Francisco Chronicle" newspaper
SAN FRANCISCO -- University of California regents voted Thursday to raise tuition by 9.6 percent - on top of an 8 percent increase already approved for this fall - over the objections of students who said they'll drown in debt.
At the same meeting in San Francisco, the regents also gave large pay raises to three executives, including two who are paid from state funds.
This fall, undergraduate tuition for California residents will rise to $12,192, more than 18 percent higher than last year's $10,302 - a level that prompted violent student protests. With a mandatory campus fee that averages $1,026, a year at UC now costs $13,218 before room and board.
That's more than twice what it cost in 2005.
Graduate tuition will also rise by 9.6 percent.
Regents said they had little choice since the state Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown passed a budget that cut UC's allocation by $650 million.
"I'll have to drop a lot of my academic goals to graduate in four years and not graduate with a lot of debt," said Andrew Albright, a UC Berkeley junior who joined dozens of students in urging the regents to stop their "knee-jerk fee hikes."
It's summer, though, and protesters were limited to about 15 people in Disney costumes - Tinkerbell, Mickey Mouse and others. They were angry that Regent Monica Lozano sits on the board of the Walt Disney Co., which they say accepts tax breaks. Students said the taxes avoided by the company could have offset tuition increases.
"UC took no stance with the Legislature against this corporate giveaway," Giselle Armendariz, in a Snow White gown, told the regents. She said she can't afford to go to UC.
The regents voted 14-4 to raise tuition. Opposing it were Eddie Island and George Marcus, student Regent Alfredo Mireles and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who urged fellow regents to vote no and send a message to Republican lawmakers who had refused to raise taxes to balance the budget.
"We don't have the luxury of sending a message," objected Regent Norman Pattiz.
The tuition increase erases a quarter of UC's $1 billion shortfall, and the regents said the alternative was to cut more and damage quality.
The budget gap is also being addressed with belt-tightening across UC's 10 campuses, higher donations and more out-of-state students, said Nathan Brostrom, UC's head of business operations. Nonresidents will pay three times the in-state price.
This fall for the first time, UC gets more cash from tuition than from taxpayers. Just $2.37 billion of its $22 billion budget now comes from tax dollars - 11 percent, compared with 12 percent from students.
Ignoring the plan -
Both regents and students blamed lawmakers for ignoring California's Master Plan for Higher Education, which is supposed to ensure that no student is denied an education because of finances.
Former UC Regent Bill Bagley, appointed by Republican Gov. George Deukmejian, contacted The Chronicle to condemn the tuition increase.
"By abdication, the Legislature has enacted a parent tax," Bagley said. "It's a massive, progressive parent tax."
UC will waive the $1,890 tuition increase for one year for students who qualify for financial aid and whose families earn between $80,000 and $120,000 a year.
But most middle-class students don't qualify for aid, and are the hardest hit by UC's rising cost.
One-third of the increase paid by those students will be set aside to cover tuition for other students whose families earn up to $80,000 - about 55 percent of undergraduates. UC forgives tuition for low-income students if there is a portion not covered by state and federal grants.
Higher tuition from UC's 25,000 graduate students will raise about $28 million, UC Provost Larry Pitts said. Half will go to financial aid.
Marye Anne Fox, chancellor of UC San Diego, said rising fees for graduate students make UC less competitive.
"We're starting to lose students," she told the regents.
Other chancellors reported cutting academic programs, losing faculty and raising class size.
The regents also gave raises to three executives.
Patrick Lenz, a UC system vice president, will earn a base salary of $300,000 from taxpayer funds, a $27,500 increase.
Santiago Muñoz, an associate vice president, got a 24.1 percent raise, from $201,400 to $250,000. Taxpayers pay 40 percent of his salary.
Mark Laret, who runs the UCSF Medical Center, will get a base salary of $935,000, a $195,300 raise, and a retention bonus of $1 million over four years. It's paid from medical center revenue.
Students said they were disappointed by the regents' decisions.
"I don't feel the regents are showing solidarity with the students," said Alex Jreisat, an anthropology student at UC Santa Barbara. "It's a shame. This is supposed to be a public university."