UC president considers 'delayed tuition' plan

January 19, 2012 12:00:50 PM PST
University of California students and administrators have spent a lot of time disagreeing about tuition costs, but they might have found some common ground over a plan to drop tuition entirely.

UC is the system that brought you free speech and it may now be the system that brings you free tuition. However, it is not really free, it is just delayed. In what may have been a surprise even to plan proponents, UC President Mark Yudof decided Thursday to take a close look at the plan. A group of UC Riverside students called "Fix UC" propose that students at all UC campuses pay no tuition.

"Charging students when they're making money just makes sense," says Chris Locascio with Fix UC. "It's really surprising to me that this hasn't been pursued, at least here in the United States."

Instead of tuition, currently at about $12,000 per year, students would pay the university 5 percent of their income for the first 20 years after graduation.

"20 years is kind of lengthy," says student Melissa Diaz. "If they could shorten it, then maybe, but I don't know. 20 years is a while."

For a graduate averaging $50,000 per year, it means $50,000 over two decades, about the same as four years of tuition. If you average $100,000 in income over that time, you pay $100,000. Some students say it is better than borrowing your way through school.

Student Annie Yoon tells ABC7, "To pay the tuition we have to take loans now and we have to pay insurance after that. So, if we can pay like pay 5 percent of our income for 20 years later, that would be better."

One student told ABC7 she prefers to pay as she goes, not when she is gone.

"Because that way, it's like you get the tuition over with," Song King says. "And then however much you make is like a surplus."

The plan is only in the initial stages and a lot of questions still need to be answered including whether students should be allowed to opt out and whether there should be a cap on how much students have to pay back. Still, the fact that it is being looked at at all, is news in and of itself.