Students prepare to fight massive UC hikes

September 11, 2009 6:47:31 PM PDT
The U.C. Board of Regents is talking about raising tuition again. It's not a done deal, but if it happens, the tuition increase could go into effect as early as this spring, but students won't let it happen without a fight.

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Attending one of the University of California schools could cost more than $10,000 next year just for tuition. The U.C. Regents will sit down next week to talk about a possible increase for the upcoming spring term and next fall. Some students and their parents say they can't afford to pay an extra $2,000 to $3,000.

"I've got rent to pay because I'm trying to pay for that on my own. I'm probably even looking at having to find a job this year, during the school year, which is already ridiculous because the Berkeley work load is insane," says U.C. Berkeley student Joe Flynn.

"I have a small loan for myself, but I think I may have to get another one and this is only my first year so I'm already starting to get a lot of loans this year. I think it would be worse over the years to go," says U.C. Berkeley student Diamond Alexander.

U.C.'s funding comes mainly from Sacramento. U.C. spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez says the state's expected budget deficit will have an impact on them.

"The university is facing a $535 million fiscal challenge that could grow to $600 million by next year, so it's in that context that everything must be on the table," says Vazquez.

In July the regents voted to impose furloughs to save $184 million. There were also tuition increases and other campus-wide budget cuts were made.

Now students are using Facebook and Twitter to write about the possibility of more hikes. Many also support a September 24 U.C. faculty walkout.

The Associated Students of University of California met at U.C.L.A. this week to discuss how to respond to any proposed tuition increases.

"It makes Berkeley not the accessible public university it's supposed to be. It makes it a lot harder for, not only middle income, but lower income students to get into the school they need for their future," says John Tran from the Associated Students of U.C.

If the board of regents votes to increase fees here, other university systems like the California State Universities may follow. The regents will vote on their proposal in November.

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