UC regents approve proposed budget

November 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The finance committee of the University of California's Board of Regents today approved a proposed $19.6 billion budget for 2009-10 that assumes that there will be a 9.4 percent increase in mandatory student fees.

However, regents said they won't set tuition levels for the next academic year until after they receive Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's state budget proposal in January and evaluate multiple needs and priorities in the university's budget.

The full UC Board of Regents will vote on the budget on Thursday. It will then go to the state Legislature.

The finance committee approved a resolution that freshman enrollments at UC's ten campuses will be cut back next fall if the state doesn't provide sufficient funding.

Regents said UC currently enrolls 10,000 more students than it receives state funding for at a cost to campuses of $120 million annually.

According to a statement released by his office, UC President Mark Yudof told regents at their meeting at UC-San Francisco's Mission Bay campus, "The situation we face is serious, and some very tough choices are ahead of us."

Yudof said, "We need to preserve access and affordability to the greatest extent possible. We also need to ensure that we're providing students access to an education of the high quality they expect of UC."

He added, "And we can't leave the state with the impression that we can continue doing more and more with fewer and fewer resources."

The finance committee also heard an update on the continuing downsizing of UC's Office of the President in Oakland, where spending has been reduced by $60 million and 500 employees have been cut.

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, who sits on the Board of Regents, proposed that the increased student fees be removed from the budget proposal but the committee voted against his motion.

In an impassioned statement to reporters before the meeting began, Garamendi said that if the UC system keeps raising tuition it will turn into the equivalent of a private school such as Stanford, Harvard or the University of Southern California.

According to a statement put out by his office, Garamendi said, "The great tradition of California, the free higher education system, is being thrown out the door, it is being abandoned."

Garamendi said, "It is time to say enough is enough, no more taxes on students. We must make the case to the public."


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