UC TUITIONS MAY VARY BASED ON CAMPUS

UC campuses may be allowed to adjust their undergraduate tuition in an effort to help the university adjust to the Governor Brown’s budget cuts.

UC tuition will be $11,124 systemwide starting Fall 2011, after the regents raised in-state undergraduate tuition rates last November. This is an 8 percent increase over Fall 2010 rates. Fees for student activities, health, parking and room and board will vary by campus.

The proposal would allow each UC campus to determine its own tuition a certain percentage either above or below a baseline that has yet to be determined.

“The idea is that you would allow each campus the flexibility to go up to a certain percentage,” UC Office of the President spokesperson Ricardo Vasquez said. “It’s not that [the individual campuses] would be able to set their own tuition.”

In November 2010, the regents chose not to endorse the staggered tuition proposal when it was included among the 20 recommendations in UC Commission on the Future report. According to the report, the regents felt that staggered tuition would place several campuses at a disadvantage due to actual or perceived academic “tiering.”

Little formal progress has been made since then — though the idea was last discussed at the Regents’ meeting in December — and Vasquez said the now-informal proposal does not yet include concrete numbers.

Vasquez says it was not unusual not to discuss the idea at the UC Regents meeting in January because it was not endorsed in the UC Commission on the Future report.

The plan was last discussed at the Dec. 13 Regents meeting and is being put back on the table for discussion at this week’s meeting.

Most state university systems have a flagship university, which charges higher tuition than the others.  The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Wisconsin at Madison are two of these universities.

“[Differential tuition] is not a new idea,” Vasquez said. “It’s something that has been discussed in light of dwindling state support.”

The set of budget ideas is in response to the continuing budget cuts, now including Gov. Jerry Brown’s $500 million cuts from the UC system in his 2011-12 budget proposal. The cut would eliminate about one-sixth of the current state funding.

It is still uncertain how much each campus would charge and how they would decide pricing.

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