Napolitano Delays Tuition Increase

UC President Janet Napolitano announced that the proposed 5-percent UC tuition increase will not be implemented for summer sessions courses taken this year in a lecture given at the University of Southern California on Feb. 18. 

UC Office of the President Assistant Director of Media Relations Dianne Klein confirmed that the enactment of tuition hikes is dependent on the level of state funding the UC system receives, which has yet to be determined.

“As we are still in negotiations with the governor and the state legislature over UC’s state budget, suspending the tuition increase for summer session was as the president said — a show of good faith,” Klein told the UCSD Guardian. “The tuition increase of up to 5 percent annually for five years has always been contingent on state support.”

Napolitano was present at USC as the guest speaker for the school’s 37th annual Pullias lecture and addressed the topics of higher education and innovation in California during her speech. After announcing that the tuition hikes would not be implemented this summer, Napolitano expressed hope that state funding would end up delaying tuition increases for an even longer period of time.

“We are gratified by the many legislators who have expressed support for increased funding for [the UC system],” Napolitano said in the lecture. “And it is my most fervent hope that we will be able to reach a funding agreement with  Sacramento that will be sufficient to forestall any in-state tuition increase for at least the next academic year as well.” 

According to Napolitano, a tuition increase next year could be avoided entirely if California allocated $100 million of its $113 billion budget to funding the University of California.

“It is our conviction that all parties engaged in these negotiations want tuition to be as low as possible and as predictable as possible,” Napolitano added. “Moreover, as a matter of fairness, we want potential summer quarter students to enroll free from any uncertainty and unpredictability inherent in a fluid and still unresolved budget situation.” 

Jefferson Kuoch-Seng, a senior at UC Merced and the president of the UC Student Association, said that while the temporary suspension of a tuition increase is promising, it does not change the fact that fees are still expected to rise in the fall.

“Students are encouraged by this gesture, but it is only a first step. While this is a sign that meaningful negotiations are continuing, it will have an impact on a small segment of the student population,” Kuoch-Seng said in a UCSA press release on Feb. 20. “Unfortunately, tuition increases remain scheduled in the fall for incoming [freshmen] and current students.”

Kuoch-Seng added that students should have a more active role in the decision-making process because the choices being made will affect them more than anyone else.

“We are disappointed that once again, students were not engaged directly and [were] informed of the tuition rollback through the media,” Kuoch-Seng said in the press release. “UCSA continues to urge the governor and the president to invite students to the table and stop relegating them to the role of observers to their own future.”