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Regents endorse fee increases

Created: 20 November, 2009
Updated: 26 July, 2022
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4 min read

Amidst vocal student and faculty protest

Students sit outside Covel Commons, site of the UC Regents meeting. Photos provided by Rudy Acuña
Students sit outside Covel Commons, site of the UC Regents meeting. Photos provided by Rudy Acuña

Faced with a state funding gap of $1.2 billion next year, a UC Regents’ committee voted Wednesday (Nov. 18) to increase student fees and adopt a financial plan that asks the state to fully fund the university’s needs.

The fee increases are part of a 2010-11 operating budget that the Regents endorsed Wednesday. The budget seeks an additional $913 million to restore program cuts, pay for unfunded enrollment growth, end employee furloughs and contribute to the UC Retirement Plan. The full Board of Regents will vote on the fee and budget proposals Thursday.

“We’re being forced to impose a user tax on our students and their families,” said UC President Mark Yudof. “This is a tax necessary because our political leaders have failed to adequately fund public higher education.”

A University of California Board of Regents committee approved a two-tiered, 32 percent fee increase that would push tuition above $10,000 at UC campuses by next fall.

The full Board of Regents will consider the proposed tuition increase Thursday. Under the proposed fee increases approved by the regents’ Finance Committee, tuition at UC campuses would increase by $585 in the spring, then another $1,344 next fall.

Along with a $900 registration fee, the hikes would bring annual in- state UC tuition to $10,302, not including campus fees, housing and books. It would mark the first time tuition topped $10,000.

The Regents, facing a tight 2010–11 budget as a result of the persistent state budget crisis, heard public comments from a number of speakers about the proposal to raise student fees and increase financial assistance for needy low- and middle-income students. UC President Mark Yudof said the budget package — which includes a 15 percent hike in undergraduate student fees in spring 2010 and an additional 15 percent in the fall — will provide enough financial assistance that three-quarters of families making under $180,000 will not pay any additional fees during the first wave of fee increases.

The fee increase vote came against a backdrop of vocal student protests. About a dozen students from UCLA and the Berkeley, Riverside and Irvine campuses testified during the meeting, telling Regents how the increased fees would affect them and their families.

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UC police said 12 students and two others were arrested and cited for refusing to leave the meeting inside Covel Commons at UCLA. Outside the building, a crowd estimated at 500 was ordered to disperse after police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly. Two students received minor injuries and some police officers were hit by thrown objects.

“None of us want fee increases,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “This was a painful decision to make, but the Regents have their backs to the wall in trying to restore the fiscal health of the university. Unfortunately, this means that everyone — faculty, staff and students — is forced to share the pain. This crisis is truly unprecedented and requires drastic measures. It’s important to note, though, that financial aid packages will close the gap for the most needy.”

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside UCLA’s Covel Commons, where the committee was meeting. Protesters who made it inside the meeting disrupted the session at least twice by loudly chanting slogans such as “We are not afraid” and “We shall overcome.” Campus police cleared the room of protesters.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside UCLA’s Covel Commons, where the committee was meeting. Protesters who made it inside the meeting disrupted the session at least twice by loudly chanting slogans such as “We are not afraid” and “We shall overcome.” Campus police cleared the room of protesters.

Gracelynne West, a senior from UC San Diego, woke up at 4 a.m. to drive to Westwood. “I’m here not just for me but for future generations of students,” she said. “We’re here to tell the regents that enough is enough.”

Lucia Lin, a UCLA senior, said she was attending her first-ever regents meeting. “All of our families have been hit hard by the economy this year, and to raise fees mid-year is really egregious,” she said. “We all know people who won’t be able to come back to school in January if the fee hikes are approved.”

This story was compiled from news reports from San Diego News Network, UC Newsrom, by Donna Hemmila, and the UCLA Newsroom, story by Alison Hewitt

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