UC Regents set to approve fee increase

    The UC Board of Regents is expected to approve a student fee increase at its May meeting next week, UC officials said on May 6.

    Undergraduate in-state students will pay an additional $795 per year if the Regents approve the UC budget provisions set forth in Gov. Gray Davis’ January budget proposal for the 2003-04 fiscal year. Resident graduate students would pay an additional $855 annually.

    “”We are reluctantly considering a fee increase as one part of a package of solutions to the budget crisis facing UC,”” said UC spokesperson Hanan Eisenman.

    Annual student fees for resident undergraduates would be raised to $4,629, pending the Regents’ approval.

    According to Jerry Kissler, the UC associate vice president of Budget Planning and Fiscal Analysis, the University of California receives about 25 percent of its funding from the State of California. In January, state analysts estimated the budget shortfall to be $34.6 billion. However, Kessler said that UC officials are predicting a more devastating reduction to the state’s budget when Davis releases his May revision.

    “”The situation has become worse,”” Kissler said. “”According to the indications we have now, the governor will probably be releasing estimates that are lower than the ones he had in January.””

    UC Director of Student Financial Support Kate Jeffery said that the university has taken action to secure extra financial help in light of an increase.

    “”First and most important, UC will cover the full amount of the increase for grant-eligible students,”” Jeffery said.

    The funding for this protection will come from additional Cal-Grant allocations for eligible students or from return-to-aid monies gathered from the fee increase. One-third of the proposed increase would be funneled directly to student financial aid.

    Students who come from families with a combined income between $60,000 and $90,000 — while not eligible for Pell grants — can apply for a UC-Fee Grant that will absorb half of the fee increase.

    Jeffery said that 60 percent of UC undergraduates receive some sort of financial aid.

    Davis is expected to release his next budget revision on May 14, the same day the Regents will vote whether or not to approve the governor’s student fee hike. The May revision will compensate for the collection of state tax revenue from April.

    Before a $135 per-quarter fee increase for resident undergraduates was approved by the Regents in December 2002, fees at the University of California had not been raised since 1994.

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