More fee increases for UC, CSU students

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In January I attended a meeting of the University of California Board of Regents at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus. I talked to any regent who would listen about the hardships brought on by the constant fee (or tuition) increases. Since 2002, fees have increased 79% for undergraduates, 84% for graduate students (that’s me!) and up to 131% for professional students. I talked to a few regents, but those were the ones who are allies for students. Most don’t seem to get it. Would you consider $400-500 more a year that big a deal when you travel on your personal jet* to the board meetings?

Yesterday at UCLA, the regents voted 13-6 to tentatively increase fees by 7% for graduate and professional students and 10% for UC law and business students (link to LA Times story).

Regents and UC administrators argue that they need to raise fees to maintain quality and competitiveness at the 10 campuses across the system. Chris Edley, dean of the Boalt Law School at UC Berkeley, wants to increase fees at Boalt to move the law school up in the rankings from #8 to #5 (see Monday’s LA Times article on law school fees. Administrators in Oakland at the UC Office of the President downplay the fee increases by saying that low income students’ will not be burdened by the fee increase because they will get additional financial aid to cover the 7% increase.

Student activists don’t buy that argument. While the Regents ate lunch, students held a press conference outside of UCLA’s Covel Commons and voiced their opposition to the fee increases. I attended and listened to students from several UC campuses talk about how the fee increases would hurt them, their families and their peers. Students are tired of the fee increases and point out that low income students will need to work more hours and take out more in loans to cover the increasing costs. Middle income students and their families might be squeezed out by the rising costs, but are not eligible for certain forms of financial aid.

What’s more troubling is that higher education in California isn’t just becoming increasingly unaffordable for the 208,000 UC students, but also for the thousands who attend California State University Campuses. The Board of Trustees for the CSU also voted to increase fees by 10%.

It’s times like this when I miss the 90s. Back then our fees actually decreased. Now we’re lucky if our fees remain stagnant for a year or more.

*Many of the Regents are very wealthy people. Their reimbursement forms include line items for normal stuff like airfare and mileage in a personal vehicle. It also includes mileage in a personal aircraft.

[Note: photo from a rally at UC Berkeley in November 2005.]

14 Replies to “More fee increases for UC, CSU students”

  1. Hmm, some SQL error ate my post or something..

    Fees decreased in the 90s? Must have been the late 90s. When I was at UCSB, fees more than doubled between 1990 and 1994, if I remember my BA/RC statements correctly.

  2. mrhooks,
    You’re right. That should have been the late 90s. The Times story has a nifty chart showing the increase. After the spike in the early 90s, it leveled off through the mid 90s and decreased slightly in the lates 90s (link.

  3. In 1988, I move away from the Bay Area, paid $11,500 per year for my full time education, worked full time to pay my rent and eat, lived at pre cleaned up McArthur student hotel, took the bus to shool and work because I couldn’t afford a car, spent the next 15 years paying off nearly $18,000 in student loans and walked uphill both ways.

    I’m not sure I can muster up much sympathy here,

  4. Michael, the difference between you and the students now is that if you went to a public school (not sure, you didn’t indicate) the state supported a greater proportion of the cost of education than it does now and the financial aid students in the late 80s received covered a greater proportion of the total cost of education.

    Believe me, I know plenty students (including myself) who are stretched thin, working lots of hours, living in crappy apartments, and will be saddled with way more than $18,000 in debt.

    Personally, I work 30 hours a week (two jobs), have 14 units of class, am an elected student government officer (up to 20 hours a week for that, including travel), and I have to do my own research so I can eventually graduate and get a PhD.

  5. What is the ratio of median Californian household income to UC fees? How does that number compare to previous years?

    Talking about fee hikes alone, with no other reference point, is pointless.

  6. Nope….. Private design school. I paid for every penny except the $500 Pell grant I received.

    I respect your hard work and I’m glad to hear you are going to do what it takes to make sure you get a great education.

    I still don’t see why all the uproar. Costs rise yearly. Insurance premiums, workers comp, salaries, utilities, construction and God knows what else… Every year everything costs more than last year. I seem to remember some protests about janitors being underpaid and deserving of raises???? Someone needs to foot the bill for additional costs/inflation.

    Your choices are the following
    1. Raise taxes
    2. Raise tuition
    3. Cut services and costs

    Since it’s “your/my” education I think “you/me” should have to foot the bill. Hopefully my spelling is better, I have eleven employees, one partner and a lot of phone calls that interrupt me
    constantly.

  7. Michael,
    There’s a big difference between going to a private school and coming out with a lot of debt and going to a public school and coming out with a lot of debt. I do understand the need to increase fees periodically to keep pace with inflation, but I think 80% in 5 years is ridiculous. I’m one of those people who grew up in California and thinks that an education at a public institution should be affordable for the 38 million residents of the state. Up until the 60s, the state didn’t even have tuition, and that commitment to higher education is part of the reason many people say California developed so strongly. My parents and I have already been footing the bill through our taxes, but now we’re being asked to pay more.

    And my choices, well tuition has already been increased and so have services. We’re not necessarily getting more for the extra thousands we’re paying.

    DavidK,
    I checked median income in California. I can tell you that it hasn’t increased 80% since 2002. As far as getting an accurate ratio, I’m not sure. I just know that as the state has decreased its support for public higher education, students and their families have had to pay more.

  8. Cindy, as a PhD student in education, don’t you get tuition paid for at UCLA? Also, what about TA-ships and RA-ships? I know undergrads and grad students in professional programs (e.g., law) have to pay tuition, but research Ph.D. programs at UCLA (e.g., Psychology, English, Spanish) completely fund their graduate students. Doesn’t the Education Dept. do the same?

  9. “but research Ph.D. programs at UCLA (e.g., Psychology, English, Spanish) completely fund their graduate students. Doesn’t the Education Dept. do the same?”

    Heh.

    I can’t speak for Cindy, but as a History student at UCI, I can assure you that full funding is a dream, not reality. Not everyone can get a year-long TAship. Sometimes you can get something at another department, but that doesn’t always happen. There are fewer TAs for large classes. And I’m in a department that has the huge undergraduate survey courses that rely on TAs. I could be wrong, but I don’t think departments like Education have big undergrad courses with multiple TAs.

    By the way, the California Department of Education has proposed a change in the childcare subsidies for grad students that would end childcare services for grad students after only 2 quarters. The UCs are thankfully opposing this, but I don’t know how long that will last.

  10. Roger,
    Good point, but nope. My first two years I had funding (fellowships and RA-ships) but this year I had to scramble. I got an RA-ship, but I still work another non-research job to pay for rent and other expenses. Education is a really “poor” department and a lot of students start the program not sure where their funding is coming from. My program admits a bunch of PhD students, but knows that they will be lured away by USC, Michigan and other top-ranked ed schools because those places have more funding to offer. In regard to TA-ships, education is only a minor at UCLA. It’s not like sociology or psychology where there are many opportunities to TA. I’ve also heard from sociology and political science graduate students that there are some students who are not guaranteed funding and others who are only offered 1 quarter for a TA-ship.

    Not all “academic grad” students are PhD students either. There are MA and terminal masters student that pay most of their fees through loans. Some of those programs — such as masters in public policy or masters in public health — were recently designated as “professional” programs and have to pay the professional differential fee of $4,000. Public health and public policy students’ fees increased from $7,468 in 2004-05 to $12,109 in 2005-06.

  11. The increases blow, but then again just to keep with inflation and salary they have to happen. I hated it when I was in college but planned on yearly increases and dealt with it knowing I’d eventually graduate. If you don’t like the increases find a cheaper school or suck it up and finish up as fast you can.

  12. Cindy, I agree. Yes, education should be affordable to all. Now that we have that out of the way…….

    Where is the money going to come from? Our state is saddled with a debt burden that would choke any mid sized European nation yet we continue to issue bond upon bond to pay for public works projects. How are we going to continue to service that debt, decrease tuition, increase education funds for K-12, feed the homeless, provide medical care for lower income families, upgrade our crumbling infrastructure and God knows what else.

    People are amazed and terrified at the amount of CC debt consumers carry but when it come to government spending we’re all just singing “throw another log on the fire”.

    Cindy, once again I ask “where is the money coming from” Maybe you have a pal in the economics department that can enlighten me.

  13. It’s a shame to see fees go up, but I had heard something recently that as fees go up, the amount of financial aid available goes up by a similar amount, which means that only those who are paying for it via their own funds will feel the pinch. Like me.

    In regards to the commenter who asked how we can pay for education, health care, etc while our state is burdened with debt, I would simply say that it is a matter of priorities.

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