Regents Consider Student Fee Increase

    The fee increases would demand an additional $662 per year from resident undergraduates and $748 from resident graduate students, according to the regents’ proposal. The plan also requests $122 million in state funding to cover the growth in enrollment this academic year and the projected growth in 2009-10.

    According to Vazquez, if the university fails to attain these funds, fewer eligible students will be able to attend the UC campus of their choice. Additionally, the plan asks for $31 million in instruction equipment and building maintenance. The proposal also calls for 5 percent increases in staff salaries and health benefit costs, as well as $228 million toward the UC Retirement Plan for employees. Professional school fees could rise by 5 to 24 percent, according to the university.

    The UC Student Association has actively protested the proposed increases in student fees. UC Student Association President Lucero Chavez said the fee increases will deter students from applying to UC campuses, as many will not be able to afford increased tuition. She also said sharp fee hikes will prevent students of low socio-economic status from attending UC schools, translating to widespread consequences for the student body’s ethnic and social makeup.

    ‘It definitely can predict a drop in diversity,’ Chavez said.

    Vazquez said the UC system will offset the negative impact of higher fees by increasing the availability of financial aid for students in need.

    The university will also seek to increase the availability of grants to further accommodate students struggling to afford college.

    Still, Chavez said the current state budget crisis does not represent a valid reason to dramatically increase student fees.

    ‘There have been good budget years and bad budget years but no matter what, we have always seen fee increases,’ she said. ‘It is a difficult argument to hear because we hear it every year.’

    Chavez said the university increases fees consistently, yet provides few improvements in offered services. Due to the steep fee increases, she said she believes potential UC students will instead consider attending Cal State schools and local community colleges to save money.

    ‘What the UC should be doing is holding the Legislature accountable,’ Chavez said.

    The UC Student Association lobbies in Sacramento each year to advocate student interests, and will continue to lobby against the proposed fee hikes. It also works closely with Cal State schools and community colleges to resolve funding issues.

    Earlier this year, the regents voted to increase student educational fees by 7 percent and the registration fee by 10 percent for the current academic year. The regents also imposed a 5 percent increase in nonresidential tuition for undergraduates to improve various programs and services and to accommodate for a rise in student enrollment, according to the UCSD Campus Budget Office.

    Readers can contact Kelly Pleskot at [email protected].

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    Student fees could increase by as much as 9.4 percent next year to compensate for a crippling state funding deficit, according to the UC Board of Regents’ proposed 2009-10 budget released earlier this month.

    The regents are discussing the possible fee increases at their meeting in San Francisco this week.

    UC spokesman Ricardo Vazquez said the California budget crisis prompted university officials to consider the proposed fee increases. According to Vazquez, the fee increases would be in line with the higher-education compact agreed upon by former UC President Robert C. Dynes and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, which stipulates that student fees may increase by as much as 10 percent in times of fiscal crisis.

    ‘In constant dollars, state support on a per student basis has dropped about 40 percent since 1991,’ Vasquez said. ‘We want to work with [state officials] constructively on budget solutions.’

    The fee increases would demand an additional $662 per year from resident undergraduates and $748 from resident graduate students, according to the regents’ proposal. The plan also requests $122 million in state funding to cover the growth in enrollment this academic year and the projected growth in 2009-10.

    According to Vazquez, if the university fails to attain these funds, fewer eligible students will be able to attend the UC campus of their choice. Additionally, the plan asks for $31 million in instruction equipment and building maintenance. The proposal also calls for 5 percent increases in staff salaries and health benefit costs, as well as $228 million toward the UC Retirement Plan for employees. Professional school fees could rise by 5 to 24 percent, according to the university.

    The UC Student Association has actively protested the proposed increases in student fees. UC Student Association President Lucero Chavez said the fee increases will deter students from applying to UC campuses, as many will not be able to afford increased tuition. She also said sharp fee hikes will prevent students of low socio-economic status from attending UC schools, translating to widespread consequences for the student body’s ethnic and social makeup.

    ‘It definitely can predict a drop in diversity,’ Chavez said.

    Vazquez said the UC system will offset the negative impact of higher fees by increasing the availability of financial aid for students in need.

    The university will also seek to increase the availability of grants to further accommodate students struggling to afford college.

    Still, Chavez said the current state budget crisis does not represent a valid reason to dramatically increase student fees.

    ‘There have been good budget years and bad budget years but no matter what, we have always seen fee increases,’ she said. ‘It is a difficult argument to hear because we hear it every year.’

    Chavez said the university increases fees consistently, yet provides few improvements in offered services. Due to the steep fee increases, she said she believes potential UC students will instead consider attending Cal State schools and local community colleges to save money.

    ‘What the UC should be doing is holding the Legislature accountable,’ Chavez said.

    The UC Student Association lobbies in Sacramento each year to advocate student interests, and will continue to lobby against the proposed fee hikes. It also works closely with Cal State schools and community colleges to resolve funding issues.

    Earlier this year, the regents voted to increase student educational fees by 7 percent and the registration fee by 10 percent for the current academic year. The regents also imposed a 5 percent increase in nonresidential tuition for undergraduates to improve various programs and services and to accommodate for a rise in student enrollment, according to the UCSD Campus Budget Office.

    Re
    aders can contact Kelly Pleskot at [email protected].

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