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UC System Votes to Increase Undergraduate Tuition

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In a 17-5 vote, the University of California’s Board of Regents approved a multi-year tuition and financial aid plan to raise tuition across the UC campus system on July 22.

This is the first tuition increase to be approved since 2017, and it will entail a 4.2% increase in tuition fees to be applied to incoming undergraduates beginning in fall 2022. For these incoming students, the yearly tuition will remain the same for up to six years. Included within the tuition increase is a 2% surcharge for next year’s incoming undergraduates, which will decline in amount for each subsequent class until its elimination in 2026. Undergraduates in the following years will receive a tuition increase based on inflation upon their arrival. Their yearly tuition will also remain unchanged for up to six years.

A previous iteration of this tuition increase proposal was shelved in July 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. UC President Michael V. Drake said the plan was introduced again due to a critical need for stable funding to maintain educational standards of quality across the UC system’s 10 undergraduate college campuses.

“This is not sustainable, and it is not acceptable,” Drake said, speaking of the consequences of limited funding for the education of UC students. “This plan proposes a much more stable and secure way forward for students and for the university.”

“On a per student basis, core funding will have declined by an estimated 36% between 2000–01 and 2021–22,” reads the plan, which also cites “enhanced financial aid and affordability for students with financial need” as a benefit. According to the plan’s proposal, 45% of tuition revenue raised from in-state undergraduates will return to them through financial aid.

Not everyone believes this tuition increase will improve the affordability of attending a UC, particularly for low-income students. Titled the “forever hike” by dissenters, opponents to the plan argue the pandemic has continued to place financial stressors upon undergraduates and that the increase in tuition highlights the income inequality faced by UC students.

“How dare you parade yourself as a diverse system?” ASUC Senator Kalliope Zervas said to the UC Board of Regents. “At this rate, you might as well only accept the wealthy students, as you’re making it nearly impossible for the rest of us to attend.”

In addition, the University of California Student Association (USCA) published a press release about the Board of Regents’ budgetary increase and their course of action on June 22.

“Over the past two years, thousands of UC students raised their voices against this tuition proposal. While we were not successful in blocking this proposal, we will closely follow the implementation of this plan and continue to zealously fight for a more affordable, accessible and quality university that meets the needs of UC students,” UCSA President Aidan Arasasingham said.

Further information on the Board of Regents may be found on their webpage.

Emma Cho is a 2021-2022 Campus News Co-Editor. She can be reached at campusnews@newuniversity.org.