Despite funding boost, UC tuition hikes still possible


UC says it's been cut over a billion dollars over the last five years. But while it's welcome news to see a proposal that gives them new funding next year, they say it's not going to be enough to avoid more tuition hikes.

In Governor Brown's new budget proposal this week, UC and CSU are each slated to get a $250 million boost in funding in the next fiscal year.

Assembly Speaker John Perez, who is also a UC Regent, fired a warning shot saying that better be enough and threatened to rethink UC's future funding if there's any mention of tuition hikes.

"So they have to act in their long term interest in understanding that there is an absolute expectation that there be no fee increases," Perez said.

Governor Brown thinks aggressively expanding online courses and making faculty teach a heavier load will help stretch the budget. He even wants to tie funding to graduation rates to move students through faster.

"The people in the university are going to have to find a way to do the same thing with fewer growing resources than they're historically used to," Brown said.

UC administrators, though, wanted $400 million. They say the proposed $250 million initially looks like the tuition hikes can be avoided, but won't guarantee it just yet.

"It's too early to say anything definitive," UC spokesperson Steve Montiel said. "But certainly there's a commitment among the administration here to do everything possible to keep tuition at the same level it is now for next year."

Students are frustrated because getting a degree is getting too expensive. They thought the voter-approved tax hikes in Proposition 30 were supposed to help slow the skyrocketing costs.

But in a letter, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi told her campus that the passage of Prop 30 "assures our students will not face mid-year tuition increases," but there was no mention about the extra money stopping tuition increases next year.

"It sucks for us college students who are already on a super, super tight budget," UC student Ellyn Beale said.

UC is technically independent of the governor and the legislature and can't be told what to do. That's why Governor Brown is expected to attend next week's UC Regents meeting to firmly plead for no more tuition hikes.

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