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University Of California Faces Mounting Pension Costs

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Students walk to class at UC Berkeley (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Students walk to class at UC Berkeley (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — The cost of pensions and retiree health benefits are soaring at the University of California, and that’s increasing pressure to raise tuition and cut academic programs.

The 10-campus system is confronting mounting bills for employee retirement benefits even as it grapples with unprecedented cuts in state funding that have led to sharp tuition hikes, staff reductions and angry student protests.

The UC system is scrambling to shore up its pension fund as it prepares for a wave of retirements and tackles a roughly $10 billion unfunded liability.

That huge deficit was created by investment losses and the nearly two decades when campuses, employees and the state did not contribute any money toward pensions.

New UC data shows that more than 2,100 of UC’s 56,000 retirees are drawing pensions over $100,000.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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