The University of California (UC) Board of Regents has approved a multi-year proposal to increase tuition and fees across all ten campuses — its first tuition hike since 2017.
Students have voiced their opposition to the increase, claiming that the plan will start a “forever hike.” However, the board voted 17-5 in favor of the measure, stating that raising tuition is necessary to maintain the system’s quality of education.
According to the plan, undergraduate tuition and fees will rise by two percent plus inflation for the 2022-23 academic year. UC officials estimated that this would cost an extra $534 to more than $13,000 per year for state residents.
The new tuition rate will be in place for the next six years. Additionally, any increase for incoming freshmen after this would gradually decline from 1.5 percent to 0.5 percent until 2027, when tuition hikes will only be based on inflation.
The multi-year plan was part of the board’s agenda last year but was set aside because of the financial problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite protests from student groups, school officials asserted that pushing through with the tuition hike will help UC continue providing quality education and financial assistance to its students with demonstrated need. The proposal indicated that around 45 percent of the projected revenue would go to student financial aid.
Kalli Zervas, a senator with the Associated Students of the University of California at Berkeley, did not mince words regarding the measure. She said, “How dare you parade yourself as a diverse system? At this rate, you might as well only accept the wealthy students, as you’re making it nearly impossible for the rest of us to attend.”
Forbes reported that the decision follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s warning to public universities that they should not increase tuition, especially since UC has received a $1.3 billion budget increase from the state.
UC Regent Elena Kounalaukis was among the five regents who voted no, asserting that hiking tuition costs, while many families are still struggling, is the wrong move.
“I think it is the wrong time to pass a plan for tuition increases at the exact same time that the commitment of the state of California to our students has never been greater,” Kounalaukis said.