By Miriam Raftery
November 21, 2014 (San Francisco)—Ignoring protests from students, opposition from the Governor and legislative leaders, University of California’s Board of Regents voted Thursday to approve Tuition hikes. The increase will be 5 percent a year over the next five years – 25 percent total—at all UC campuses . For the 2015-2016 school year, tuition will be $12,804 and by 2019, students will be forced to pay $15,000 a year in tuition.
Some Regents indicated that if that state increases funding, they would vote to reduce tuitions.
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) has pledged to introduce a measure to boost funding for the UC system. She had urged the Regents to reject any tuition or fee hikes. Atkins, an ex-officio Regent with voting rights, called the fee hikes “unacceptable” adding, “California students and their families have faced too many fee increases already.”
Atkins wants to provide an extra $50 million in funding from the state’s general fund and adopt pension reforms for new employees. Her proposal would cut fees for middle income families by over 20 percent and increase tuition on out-of-state students by$5,000, also capping enrolling on out-of-state students to the current levels and increasing by 10,000 the number of California students who would be admitted. In addition, she would also impose limits on pay raises for UC executives.
Regent Sherry Lansing said she was “saddened” to vote for the tuition hike and blasted the state for giving the UC system less money from Prop 30 than was expected, despite strong support for the measure from students, alumni and faculty members.
UC President Janet Napolitano said that the tuition increases are needed to help with employee pay and pensions, hire more faculty and raise the number of California undergraduates by 5,000 over five years.
The opposing votes were cast by Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, student regent Sadia Saifuddin and two new regents appointed by Brown earlier this week, former Assembly Speaker John Perez and Long Beach City College President Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the Los Angeles Times reports.
As Regents convened to vote, students gathered outside chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, tuition hikes have got to go.”
A protest a day earlier at UC San Francisco became confrontational, with students engaged in pushing matches with police and a window broken. At UCLA, a planned bonfire before a football game was cancelled due to concerns over protests. On Tuesday, a peaceful protest was held at the UC San Diego campus, drawing about 400 protesters in what UC professor Jorge Mariscal called “a beautiful day for a student uprising.”