Capitol Alert

University of California proposes first tuition decrease in almost 20 years

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.

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