For most students like Mohammad Kashmiri, a law student at UC Berkeley, the recent student fee increases are taking a harsh toll on the futures of many students trying to earn undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
There are approximately 1,500 to 2,000 professional students at UC Berkeley, and as many as eight to 10 thousand within the University of California.
While many students are taking up second jobs, Kashmiri and eight other plaintiffs from the university’s doctoral programs in Kashmiri v. Regents are suing the UC Regents for breach of contract.
The plaintiffs include five law students from Boalt Hall, UCLA and UC Davis law schools, one student from UCSF medical school and one undergraduate student from UC Berkeley, who will not be affected if the case wins.
The class action lawsuit, filed in July of 2003, argues that the terms which established the price that the students were required to pay for classes for the spring 2003, summer 2003 and fall 2003 terms were violated.
‘There was a lack of notice that made the fee increase in the middle of the year,’ Kashmiri said. ‘We didn’t have time to get the money.’
According to Kashmiri, the regents raised fees five days prior to 2003 summer classes.
The professional degree program’s contract in law, medicine and business promises that the professional degree fee would remain the same for the entire time they remained enrolled in the program.
According to the initial complaint filed by the plaintiffs, the regents breached its promise that the professional degree fee would not be changed during the students’ period of enrollment when it increased the fees for the spring 2003 and fall 2003 terms.
The complaint also states that UC Berkeley raised fees by $160 for each undergraduate student and $182 for each graduate student. Similarly, many other institutions within the UC system raised their fees last minute as well.
‘If I would have known they were going to do this, I would have made another decision to come here,’ Kashmiri said.
Two law firms that have taken on the case