The UC Board of Regents approved an additional tuition hike of nearly 10 percent -- 9.6 percent to be exact.
The regents had previously approved an 8 percent raise. Students will go from paying $10,000 to more than $12,000 with the latest tuition increase.
Thursday's vote on the tuition increase raises the price of tuition by $1,000 per student. The regents said the increase was necessary because of the most-recent $650 million in state funding for education.
"The student fees, even the combined fees, add up to only 26 percent of the university's shortfall for the next year," said provost Lawrence Pitts.
The University of California system will close its budget gap by making more cuts throughout the system.
"We're reducing the number of discussion sections in chemistry and biology," said UC Riverside chancellor Timothy White. "We are raising the size of those. We are deferring our school of medicine. We are deferring our school of public policy."
The UC system says 55 percent of its students will not have to pay for the new tuition increase because they are entitled to financial aid packages, but those who don't qualify for those same packages will have to pay.
"Here we are putting, once again, the nail in the coffin of the middle class because that's exactly who gets hurt," said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newson.
"I am working full-time during the summer to save money, and with the tuition hike, I'm probably going to have to get more loans out just to even pay for my school," said student Jose Silva.
The regents said the tuition hike is needed to maintain the reputation of the UC system.
"At all costs, we will protect the reputation, the quality of the university," said Regent George Kieffer. "We will not lose faculty, we will not lose top administrators because you have deserted the university."
Regent Russell Gould said the board has thrown in the towel.
"The impact of saying no just sends us down the road of saying we're prepared to let our quality erode," Gould said.
The tuition hike for UC schools comes just two days after Cal State universities approved a 12 percent fee increase for its students.
In 2007, the average cost for tuition at any of the UC schools was $6,500.