The University of California Board of Regents today (May 20) approved student fee increases for the 2004-05 year to help address a substantial shortfall in state funding for the university. They include a $700 annual increase for resident undergraduates, $1,050 for resident graduate academic students, and between $2,600 and $4,500 for many professional school students.
The Regents' vote was 14-2.
A new "compact" between UC and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promises stability and moderate growth for the university's funding beginning in 2005-06. However, the 2004-05 governor's budget still includes cuts to UC to help the state address a major budget deficit.
Under the governor's plan, UC's state-funded operating budget would fall 7 percent, from $2.9 billion this year to $2.7 billion in 2004-05. In total, over a four-year period, UC's net state-funded operating budget will have fallen 16 percent. The governor's budget for 2004-05 includes a 10 percent cut in freshman enrollments, a 7.5 percent reduction for administration and libraries, a 5 percent cut to state-funded research, elimination of state funding for UC's K-12 academic improvement programs, and a $35 million unallocated reduction, among other things.
Student fee increases were proposed to prevent even deeper cuts to the university and the quality of its student instructional program.
"The fee increases approved today are significant, and I know they will have an impact on many families," said UC President Robert C. Dynes. "We are striving, to the best of our ability given the state's fiscal crisis, to preserve quality, accessibility and the university's contributions to the economy, health and quality of life of California.
"While the Legislature and governor are still negotiating a final state budget, the regents chose to move ahead with decisions on fees in order to avoid delay in providing notice of fee levels to students and their families."
The fee increases include:
- Resident undergraduate fees will increase 14 percent ($700) per year beginning in summer 2004, bringing mandatory systemwide fees to $5,684. Campuses also charge additional miscellaneous fees, which bring the total average fee to $6,230. (This amount is roughly $1,200 below the average charged at the four public institutions -- Illinois, Michigan, SUNY and Virginia -- that UC uses for fee comparison purposes.)
The governor's May Revision includes funding for Cal Grants to cover the 14 percent increase for eligible students; the governor's January budget proposal did not do so.
Under the compact agreement, fees for resident undergraduates will rise 8 percent in both 2005-06 and 2006-07 to help UC continue its recovery after years of budget cuts. Fee increases in future years would be indexed to increases in per capita personal income, though the regents could adopt fee increases of up to 10 percent in compelling fiscal circumstances.
- Resident graduate academic student fees will increase 20 percent ($1,050) per year beginning in summer 2004, bringing mandatory systemwide fees to $6,269. Average total fees, including campus-based miscellaneous fees, will be $7,893. (This figure is roughly $2,000 below the average charged by the four public comparison institutions.) Under the compact, fees will rise 10 percent in both 2005-06 and 2006-07.
The 20 percent increase for 2004-05 is half the 40 percent increase originally proposed by the governor.
- Nonresident tuition will rise 20 percent ($2,746 for undergraduates and $2,449 for graduate students) per year beginning in fall 2004. Out-of-state students also pay regular student fees, bringing total average nonresident tuition and fees at UC to $23,186 for undergraduates and $22,832 for graduate students. Students paying the Fee for Selected Professional School Students will not be subject to the nonresident tuition increase.
- Professional school fees will rise by varying amounts in response to the governor's proposal to reduce state funding for most professional schools by 25 percent and replace it with student fee revenue. The total fees paid by students in law, business, medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, and theater/film/television programs will increase by roughly 30 percent -- or, more specifically, between 23 percent for law and 34 percent for optometry. (Nursing is exempted from the increases.)
The increases approved by the regents are $2,600 for theater/film/television; $3,800 for law, pharmacy, and optometry; $4,000 for veterinary medicine; and $4,500 for business, medicine and dentistry. As noted above, however, these students will not be subject to the 20 percent increase in nonresident tuition.
In addition, because the new fee revenue only replaces existing state funding, the regents' action authorizes the president to raise total fees for professional school students by an additional amount not to exceed 10 percent, if it is deemed necessary to preserve the quality of academic programs or to provide students with sufficient financial aid.
The professional fee increases approved by the regents do not fully meet the fee revenue levels assumed in the governor's budget so if the governor's budget is ultimately adopted, campuses will be asked to absorb an additional $5 million in unspecified cuts on a temporary basis while each professional program develops a longer-term plan for student fees in each discipline.
"The size of the professional fee increases, in particular, is troublesome to us all," Dynes said. "In the future, longer-term planning should give us a better understanding of where professional fee levels need to be and should help students plan their own budgets for changing fee levels."
Additional information on student fees is available at: www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/budget/fee_fact_sheet.pdf.
Details regarding the compact are at: www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/compact/weclome.html.
And further background on the UC budget situation can be found at: www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/budget/.
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