UC regents OK new rates for 2022
The University of California regents voted Thursday to raise undergraduate tuition rates starting next year.
In a 17-5 vote, the regents approved an increase to tuition and fees tied to inflation that will apply to undergraduates entering the UC system in the fall of 2022. The increase would not apply to current students.
Next fall, incoming students will be charged an additional 4.2% in tuition fees, which accounts for inflation plus a 2% surcharge. For the incoming freshman class in 2022, that amounts to an increase of about $534 during the first year.
After the first year, the UC system will phase out the surcharge by half a percent over the next six years. Every successive class entering the UC system after 2022 will pay a smaller surcharge amount until the charges are completely phased out by 2026.
Each class of students will pay a flat rate for up to six years according to the established inflation and surcharge rates that are in place when they begin their education.
The goal of this tuition plan, according to UC President Michael Drake, is to provide financial predictability to families and make a UC education more affordable for many low-income students.
During Thursday’s meeting, Dr. Drake told officials that under the new plan, more than half of UC undergraduates would see no net increase to tuition fees. This is because 55% of students currently have their tuition and fees covered by need-based UC grants.
Dr. Drake explained that 40% of revenue generated under the new plan would be set aside for financial aid. He said the increased money available for financial aid recipients would more than make up for the tuition increase.
“Here’s the bottom line. Due to the increased level of student aid generated under this model, the net cost of attendance for most California resident undergraduates will be less under this plan than if tuition were to remain flat,” Dr. Drake told the regents.
After years of unstable funding sources, crowded classrooms and dorms, Dr. Drake said this plan would get the UC system on a more “secure and stable way forward” by creating more predictability and affordability for students.
While the plan received overall approval from the regents, a few officials voiced opposition during Thursday’s meeting.
The pandemic’s impact on financial stability compounded with the whopping $1.27 billion in state funding given to the UC system this year had some officials questioning the timing of the tuition hike.
“I’m disappointed that the UC Regents voted to approve ongoing tuition increases (Thursday),” Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, a former regent, said in a tweet. “This year, our state general fund allocates $1.3 billion in new spending to the UC — it’s the wrong time to ask students and families to pay more when the state’s commitment has never been greater.”
Ms. Kounalakis’ opposition to the plan was shared by two former regents — state Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood — as well as current regents Laphonza Butler and Alexis Atsilvsgi Zaragoza.
Despite the outcome of Thursday’s vote, Lt. Gov. Kounalakis vowed to continue to fight to keep higher education affordable and accessible.