Pres. Yudof: No Tuition Increases In Near Future

The UC Board of Regents discussed the university’s financial crisis at its latest meeting, held at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus from March 15 to 17. The public portion of the meeting focused on possible financial solutions for what looks to be a challenging fiscal year for the UC system.

The UC system is searching for more revenue to support a growing gap caused by a decrease in state support and rising expenses.

To avoid tuition increases, layoffs, increased class sizes and reduced enrollment, some state lawmakers want place a tax extension — to extend temporary tax hikes — on California’s special election ballot in June.

UC President Mark G. Yudof said he does not plan to ask for an additional tuition increase, as fees increased by 32 percent this past fall and are slated to increase another 8 percent for Fall 2011. However, he said another tuition increase may be necessary if the tax extension does not pass.

“This is not a blip,” UC President Mark G. Yudof said at the meeting. “This is 20 years of reduced funding for the university. We need a long-term plan. Our collective job is to figure out how to do it.”

Yudof plans to redistribute $50 million — approximately 17 percent — from UC’s Oakland headquarters to the 10 campuses in an effort to decrease financial pressure.

Yudof pointed out that large budget cuts have already been made and more are on the way. Despite the cuts, Yudof said his priority is to preserve quality.

“In all the variables you hear today, there is one constraint and a guiding star we must follow, and that is quality,” Yudof said. “Quality is non-negotiable.”

The regents decided not to take an official stance on the ballot measure until they are aware of the fiscal impact it may have on the university.

“Right now, there’s no clarity about what tangible benefit there would be to the UC — just that it could get worse if it doesn’t pass,” Regents Chairman Russell Gould said.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau proposed setting tuition rates at each individual campus — an idea that sparked opposition from the public and many regents. UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal also disagreed with Birgeneau’s proposal, saying it would degrade the concept of a university system.

The regents proposed solutions to the $500-million state budget cut to the UC system on the second day of the meeting. Thousands of students and workers rallied across the 10 campuses in an effort to dissuade the board from cutting jobs, courses and enrollment. UCSD workers and students held a rally at the UCSD Medical Center on March 16.

“The regents have still not taken action on how they will deal with the proposed $500 million cut to the UCs,” UC Student Association President Claudia Magaña said in a press release. “Which is very alarming and gives students no concrete information as to whether student fees will continue to rise.”

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