UCSD Students Advocate Against Non-Resident Tuition Increase

A coalition of non-resident UC San Diego students traveled to the UC Board of Regents meeting on May 15 to advocate against the 2.6-percent tuition increase, which was ultimately approved through a vote the following day. This new increase will raise non-resident supplemental tuition fees by $762 from the current $14,496 for undergraduates and $7,551 for graduate students, amounting to an estimated $28.9 million in new revenue for the 2019-20 school year.

The increase was initially proposed at the Regents meeting in March, but the board decided to table it due to fierce opposition from the University of California Student Association and some of the Regents.

Incoming Associated Students President Eleanor Grudin, incoming Muir Vice President Internal Affairs Corliss Lam, incoming Muir Vice President External Affairs Pankhuri Prasad, and incoming Warren Student Council President Elizabeth Niculescu, who are all either out-of-state or international students, attended the meeting to advocate against the increase although travel complications prevented them from actually speaking.

According to Niculescu, non-resident students are regularly targeted for tuition increases as there are fewer of them to protest such hikes.

“Non-California residents are a minority [in the UC system], and that is a big part of why the Regents are able to continually use them as a source of income,” Niculescu told the UCSD Guardian. “In order to stop this, we need a united coalition of students even those not affected by this hike to speak up and to make their voices heard.”

Niculescu additionally stated that the tuition increase only serves as a temporary fix to a larger issue.

“At its core, this tuition hike demonstrates that the Regents seems to think that increasing tuition is a solution for the state’s decreasing proportion of funding,” Niculescu said.

In a Facebook post published after the Regents’ vote in favor of the increase was completed, Niculescu expressed her disappointment in the decision.

“This tuition hike is regressive, discriminatory, and fueled by a basic lack of consideration for non-California resident students, including out-of-state, international, and undocumented individuals,” Niculescu wrote. “Instead of petitioning the state of California for the funding the UC needs, the Regents, have voted once again to raise tuition on an underrepresented group.”

Student Regent-designate Hayley Weddle, who is a graduate student at UCSD, voiced her concerns to the board about how the justifications for the increase do not appear to be valid.

“A 10-percent allocation for financial aid doesn’t seem like it would alleviate the burden of food and housing insecurity that we already have data to show non-resident students are currently experiencing,” Weddle said. “I also don’t see an explicit solution outlined in the proposal for non-AB 540 undocumented students [undocumented students not exempt from paying non-resident tuition] … I don’t have a vote on this board but I urge the folks who do to vote no.”

The new 2.6-percent, non-resident supplemental tuition raise will go into effect at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. Of the estimated $28.9 million in new revenue, $2.9 million will be used for non-resident financial aid with the rest being allocated primarily for hiring new faculty.

Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.