SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) — Undergraduate students at the University of California may face a tuition increase for the first time in six years under a proposal to be considered by the university’s board of regents this month.

UC officials unveiled the plan Wednesday, saying that proposed increases in tuition and fees represent a modest way to help pay for better mental health services, financial aid and faculty hiring after years of rising enrollment and declining state support.

In-state undergraduates currently pay $12,294 a year in tuition and fees. The proposal calls for a $282 increase in tuition and $54 increase in fees for undergraduates at nine campuses, bringing the new total for California residents to $12,630 for the 2017-18 school year.

UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said financial aid would cover the increases for two-thirds of the system’s California undergraduate students.

“We’ve reached the point where it is critical that we make these investments in UC’s academic excellence,” Klein said in a statement posted on the system’s website.

The money would be used to hire faculty, beef up tutoring and mental health services, and provide more financial aid for undergraduates and fellowships for graduate students, the university system said.

Critics said the tuition increase would put too much of a burden on students already struggling to finance their educations.

The UC Board of Regents meets Jan. 25-26.

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