Capitol Alert

University of California proposes first tuition decrease in almost 20 years

UC students deliver Chipotle to California lawmakers

University of California students delivered burrito bowls to lawmakers on May 31, 2018, to advocate for more funding.
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University of California students delivered burrito bowls to lawmakers on May 31, 2018, to advocate for more funding.

Students at the University of California are set to receive a small, but significant, break on their expenses next year.

UC’s governing board will vote Thursday on a 2018-19 budget plan that proposes a tuition decrease of $60 — the first time in nearly two decades that fees would drop from one year to the next. Academic charges, including tuition and student services fees, would total $12,570 annually.

The decrease comes from the elimination of a $60 tuition surcharge that the university imposed in fall 2007, and extended in 2013, to pay for nearly $100 million in damages from two class-action lawsuits related to raising fees on graduate students in the middle of a semester. In a background document for the meeting, UC said it “will have recovered nearly all damages” by fall 2018.

The university last lowered tuition by 5 percent in the 1999-2000 academic year, the second of two consecutive drops. Since then, system-wide fees have more than tripled, from $3,429.

UC was considering another tuition hike earlier this year but abandoned that proposal amid heavy lobbying of the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown by university officials and students. They ultimately secured a $98 million state budget increase, as well as another $249 million in one-time funding, to help enroll 2,000 more California undergraduates this fall, cover employee raises and address a maintenance backlog, among other expenses.

Gov. Jerry Brown spoke to the California Chamber of Commerce host breakfast on May 24, 2018, and suggested state universities should be more like Chipotle.

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