UC President Napolitano Proposes Tuition Freeze

Tuition for UC undergraduates may remain constant for the third consecutive year as the Board of Regents discusses alternatives

University of California undergraduate tuition may be frozen for the third consecutive year, according to a recent policy plan proposed by UC President Janet Napolitano.

The plan was discussed at yesterday’s Board of Regents meeting in UCSF — if approved, it will keep the current undergraduate California resident tuition rate at $12,192 in annual systemwide fees.

In her first meeting with the Board of Regents this year, the newly appointed UC president explained that she hopes the proposed policy will provide enough time for administration to create a more sustainable and stable tuition setting for all UC campuses.

“We need to figure out, in the real world in which we live, how to bring clarity to, and reduce volatility in, the tuition-setting process,” Napolitano said in an address to the Board of Regents. “It’s time for the university to collaboratively come up with a better way.”

Napolitano mentioned the idea of “cohort tuition” — in which freshmen enter college with the expectation of a stable four-year tuition price — as a possibility for a new UC policy, although she also emphasized the need for the Regents to explore a variety of options.

“We will also look at expanding our other revenue possibilities: grants, public-private partnerships, joint ventures, philanthropy,” Napolitano said. “These revenues must all be harnessed if we are to continue to be the world-class university we are, while being as low-cost as we can.”

While speaking about reasons for past tuition hikes, Napolitano cited overall economic difficulty and decreases in state funding and described the current importance of increasing cost-efficiency within the UC Office of the President.

In addition to campus-wide cost of operation reductions, Napolitano urged the state of California to actively participate in stabilizing tuition rates, mentioning that such a partnership would be crucial in creating an effective tuition policy.

“The State of California must do its part,” Napolitano said. “The university needs additional funding for UC Retirement Plan and  enrollment growth.”

This increase in state funding for the 2014–15 university budget plan is set to be discussed at today’s Regents meeting, with a proposed $64.1 million toward the UC Retirement Plan, $21.8 million for enrollment growth and $35 million for “reinvestment in academic quality,” according to the UC Regents Committee on Finance agenda.

“The fight for low tuition — a hallmark of a public university — is something all of us have a stake in,” Napolitano said. “I know we can create the clear, predictable tuition policy our students and their families need and deserve.”