Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed state budget for 2006 will increase funding to the University of California, allowing student fees to remain at current levels for the 2006-2007 academic year, not to increase, as had previously been expected.
Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal, which will be sent to the state legislature on Jan. 10, will give an additional $75 million to the UC, reversing the recent trend of funding cuts.
‘That’s really good news for us,’ said Zachary Avallone, a third-year international studies major and executive vice president of the Associated Students of UC Irvine. ‘We just have to make sure the legislature keeps that part of the budget intact and doesn’t try to move it around.’
The recently-repealed fee increase would have marked the fifth consecutive year of increases for UC students.
Fees for in-state undergraduate students entering the UC in 2002 were about $4,300. Under Schwarzenegger’s new proposal, entering undergraduates in 2006 will pay $6,802, down $492 from the previously proposed $7,294.
Graduate student fees would now be $8,708, $690 less than the expected $9,398.
Even though the UC Regents already approved fee increases for 2006-2007, they added an amendment which stated that any additional funding would go toward decreasing student fees.
With the news of a possible way around fee increases, ASUCI and the UC Student Association began lobbying the governor’s office and calling representatives to urge them to pressure the governor into considering additional UC funding.
This pressure and the current upward economic trend paid off when ASUCI received a call saying that the governor would add more funding.
‘The governor is banking on our continual economic upswing, and that’s why he’s beginning to give more money than he has in the past,’ Avallone said.
The new budget plan would also increase funds for Cal Grant scholarships by $11.9 million.
‘[The increase in scholarship funding] simply increases the ceiling that individual students can get,’ Avallone said. ‘It does not expand the pool. The increase is for students who are already eligible.’
The limit for student payments will be $9,708 under the new proposal, which is over $1,000 more than students can receive now, according to Avallone.
State Assembly Speaker Fabian N