SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The University of California has delayed a contentious vote originally planned for Wednesday on whether to raise tuition at UC’s 10 campuses.
The office of UC President Janet Napolitano issued a statement Tuesday saying it had decided to move a vote by the UC Board of Regents on two tuition proposals to a later date. It did not specify when.
“We understand and take seriously the concerns by students who have requested more time to consider the proposed plans and welcome ongoing productive conversations with them,” the statement said.
Also Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom objected to the tuition hikes, signalling a potential political tug-of-war with the state’s prestigious university system.
“Given the major increase in higher education funding provided in last year’s budget and the similar increase proposed by Gov. Newsom for next year’s budget, he believes that the proposed tuition increase is unwarranted, bad for students and inconsistent with our college affordability goals,” Newsom spokesman Jesse Melgar said in a statement.
Newsom’s proposed 2020-21 budget, which he announced Jan. 10, includes more than $217 million in permanent new funding for the UC system, in addition to $55.3 million in one-time funding for UC programs.
In his opening budget proposal, Newsom stipulates that the increased funding is based on “the expectation that UC will continue to focus on maintaining college affordability” and other goals, including increasing student access and improving rates of timely degree completion.
The Board of Regents was scheduled to discuss and then vote on two proposals for raising undergraduate tuition at a meeting Wednesday. One plan calls for raising tuition and fees for all students annually by the cost of inflation. That would amount to a projected 2.8% increase of $348 over last year, to $12,918 for fall 2020.
The second plan would raise tuition and fees once for each incoming class but keep those costs flat for six years. Under that plan, the costs for the entering class of 2020-21 would increase over last year by 4.8%, or $606, to $13,176 for California undergraduates. Tuition for existing students would be frozen at current levels.
Napolitano has recommended that the regents approve either of the plans so prospective students can “make informed enrollment decisions,” according to a UC memo.
The memo expressed appreciation for Newsom’s proposed funding increase but said the university system needs more money to cover an ambitious plan to increase undergraduate enrollment, make long-neglected repairs to infrastructure, address faculty and staff salary gaps, strengthen mental health services, build new classrooms, dorms and labs and cover rising pension and health costs.