Regents to Vote on Fee Increase

Nick Vu | Staff Photographer

On Nov. 8, UC President Mark Yudof announced a recommended eight percent fee increase for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The recommendation, along with a proposal for the expansion of the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, will be voted on during next week’s Regents meeting at UCSF Mission Bay.

“It may not be as bright as I like, but I do see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Yudof said about the future of the UCs at the beginning of the Monday conference.

Under Yudof’s recommendations, students would see a mandatory systemwide fee increase of roughly $822, effective fall 2011. However, a new stipulation grants students whose families’ annual incomes are between $80,000 and $120,000 a “‘catch your breath’ holiday,” meaning that students who fall into that “middle-class” bracket will not have to pay the eight percent increase until the following 2012-2013 year.

“The state is in bad financial shape,” Yudof said. “Let’s give it another year and see if those families that we know are stressed are going to be able … to get their economics better together … It’s just a one-year holiday.”

In addition, Yudof’s expansion of the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which was created last year as a response to the 32 percent increase, will now be extended to students with family incomes below $80,000 (as opposed to the current $70,000).

Yudof emphasized that the money put back into financial aid from the fee increases has allowed more low-income students to attend UC schools.

“As the fees have gone up, the proportion of low income students has risen because of the financial aid arrangements,” he said.

Yudof added that the state funds for the UCs is currently half of what it was in 1990, which he blamed on the state’s investment in California prisons instead of on higher education.

“What I’m concerned about is the long run,” Yudof said. “The University of California should be growing.”