Students across the UC system can plan to allot $60 less for tuition for the 2018-19 school year.
The UC regents voted unanimously this morning to approve a 2018-19 budget, marginally decreasing tuition. This decision will interrupt a nearly 20-year pattern of increasing or maintaining tuition and fees each year.
While $60 is not a large portion of current tuition, which was $12,630 for resident undergraduates and graduates in the 2017-18 school year, the decrease marks victory for many. Earlier this year, the regents proposed a 2.5 percent in-state and 3.5 percent nonresident tuition increase to take effect in fall 2018, to bring brought in-state tuition to $12,972 and nonresident tuition to $28,992. UC decision-makers cited decreasing state funding for the need for an increase, but their proposal was met with strong student, faculty and staff opposition.
Students succeeded in postponing the tuition votes, originally scheduled for January, by urging the regents to wait for the final California budget to be released. In the months following, students and other tuition activists mobilized in Sacramento, lobbying legislators to increase state funding for the UC. Their efforts paid off last month.
Gov. Jerry Brown approved California’s 2018 Budget Act on June 27, giving a 2.9 percent increase in ongoing general fund support and an additional $248.8 million in temporary one-time general funds for the UC. This uptick in state funding from Brown’s earlier proposals allowed the UC to avoid an in-state increase and eliminate a $60 surcharge for each student, resulting in the decrease. The 3.5 percent out-of-state tuition increase, previously approved in March, will remain in place.
The UC Office of the President’s executive summary of the new budget and tuition decrease notes that temporary funds, while helpful, cannot be viewed as a long-term solution.
UC students present during the Wednesday and Thursday public comment periods at the regents’ meeting thanked them for the decrease, while urging further transparency and student involvement in future UC budget planning.
Undoubtedly, the fight for more affordable tuition will continue.