UC made affordable for more CA students

February 5, 2009 7:18:57 PM PST
In a tough economy a higher education can be even more out of reach for a lot of families. But the University of California system is reaching out -- offering more young people a free ride.

The University of California will now pick up the tuition fee for every student whose families make less than $60,000 a year, the median income of California families.

The state already does that for many, but there are a few students (nearly 1,100) who qualify for grants but still fall short of getting a full ride.

Click here for more information on the state's Cal Grant financial aid program.

"Every time a student pays fees to the University of California that's educational fees and registration fees, 33 percent of those monies goes back into the financial aid program," UC regent Mary Croughan said.

Now the UC system will increase that number to 36 percent. That extra 3 percent represents $3.1 million that will go to help those additional students pay for school.

"We have a moral obligation and we were created to do great research and all the rest but to be the institution of access," UC President Mark Yudof said.

Shortly after the board approved the plan, UC regent and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell brought that message to seniors at San Francisco's Balboa High School.

It was a message Giovanni Villareal wanted to hear.

"This would really help me out so that I can have a chance and an opportunity to learn what I need to learn to be successful in life," Villareal said.

The plan to expand UC's financial aid program will occur in September when another tuition increase is also likely to go into effect.