The UC Board of Regent committee of finance passed a measure that includes two undergraduate educational fee increases– a 15 percent mid-year increase to take effect this school year and another 15 percent increase in the 2010-2011 school year. Student Regent Jesse Bernal, a UC Santa Barbara graduate student, was the only committee member to oppose the measure.
The proposal goes to a final vote before the entire Board of Regents tomorrow.
“It’s probable, but it’s not over til its over,” said UC President Mark Yudof, on the chances of the fee increases passing tomorrow.
The fee item was passed without any students present. All spectators in the open session were forced to leave by UC police officers after numerous disruptions during the 20 minute public comment period and during the committee on finance’s deliberation. Fourteen students were arrested on two different occasions in the meeting preceding the committee vote.
The first fee increase, a system wide fee of $585 dollars for every undergraduate student, will begin next quarter. The second increase kicks in during the 2010-11 school year and will increase student fees $1,344 dollars per undergraduate. When all is said and done, student fees will be raised to $10,302 dollars, a 32.5 percent increase from current fees.
According to the regents, 33 percent of the revenue generated by both fee increases will go to financial aid.
“The result of budget cuts [from the state of California] is that we are recommending a mid-year fee increase,” said Patrick Lenz Vice President for budget, in a presentation to the regents.
The State of California, experiencing its worst fiscal crisis in years, cut $637.1 million in allocations to the UC, leaving it with $2.6 billion for the 2009-10 fiscal year, twenty percent less of what it used to receive in state funding.
In a speech addressed to a regent, UC President Yudof said, “ I think we are doing it in a way that makes sense… it will end the furlough plan and extend library hours.”
Without the fee increases the UC will fall short $792 million dollars in its budget.
Along with the fee increase, the regents will request that the California state legislature provide UC with $913 million dollars for the next fiscal year. Even if the state legislature responds positively to this request UC, will still face a $144 million dollar gap.
“We have to fix this,” said John Plotts, the Assistant Vice President of Finance. “Or we have no future.”