University of California Prepares to Cut Tuition for First Time in Almost 20 Years

July 19, 2018

The University of California is on the brink of eliminating an 11-year-old $60 tuition surcharge in what would be the system’s first year-over-year decrease in almost 20 years.

UC’s Board of Regents is expected to vote today on a budget plan that would eliminate the fee, dropping base tuition and fees to $12,570 per year. The move would be a break from recent trends of rising student costs at the system. It last cut tuition in the 1999-2000 academic year, by 5 percent, and systemwide fees have more than tripled since then, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The $60 fee to be eliminated was first put in place in the fall of 2007 in order to fund almost $100 million in costs the system faced because of class-action lawsuits over raising graduate student fees midsemester. UC expects to have recovered nearly all costs by this fall.

UC had considered a 2.5 percent tuition increase earlier this year. But it was able to secure from the state a $98 million increase in funding, plus $249 million in one-time funding. The extra money is to help pay for enrolling more students from California plus expenses like maintenance, employee raises and retirement plan contributions.

The tuition rollback is “icing on the cake” after state funding was increased and the proposed tuition hike was scrapped, said Varsha Sarveshwar, a UC Berkeley student and member of the UC Student Association, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. The UC system’s president, Janet Napolitano, said the system is now prepared to shift away from managing crises like repeated funding shortfalls. Leaders will start talks on crafting a four-year plan to address issues like tight space on campuses, graduating students on time and enrolling more students.

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