Capitol Alert

University of California approves tuition increase proposal

UC Berkeley alumna Tania Kappner reacts during a discussion over proposed tuition increases at the University of California Board of Regents meeting on November 19, 2014.
UC Berkeley alumna Tania Kappner reacts during a discussion over proposed tuition increases at the University of California Board of Regents meeting on November 19, 2014. The Sacramento Bee

The University of California Board of Regents voted Thursday to adopt a plan that would allow UC to raise tuition by up to 5 percent annually over the next five years if the university does not receive more funding from the state.

After a highly emotional public comment period, in which students pleaded with the regents to “find your souls” and to keep college more affordable into the future, the controversial proposal passed 14-7 over loud chants of protest.

Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, who all serve as ex-officio regents, were present at the meeting to vote against the proposal. Brown has argued that increasing tuition would break with an agreement he made to increase UC funding over four years on the condition of a tuition freeze. Two new regents he appointed last week, including former Speaker John A. Pérez, were also among those voting no.

Preliminary discussion of the tuition plan stretched on for more than two hours on Wednesday, following a tense morning of protests in which students attempted to block the regents from their meeting. Brown led efforts to strike down the tuition increase, introducing a last-minute proposal for a committee to study how UC could cut costs instead, but the regents’ committee moved the proposal forward to the full board vote.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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