Stop Massive UC Tuition Hikes!
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As tens of thousands of UC students grapple with food insecurity, lack affordable housing and find themselves driven into crippling debt, the UC Regents are considering policies that would further compromise the University's commitment to accessibility, diversity, and public service:
1) In January they will consider whether to end a 6-year tuition freeze and return to periodic tuition increases. They claim that by moderately increasing tuition now, they are "protecting" students from drastic tuition increases later. But none of us students are asking for this "protection!" Keeping tuition levels steady would force the UC to trim its bloated bureaucracy and if, years down the road, the UC actually faced a dire fiscal situation, this would finally force the State of California to restore its pre-recession levels of support. Increasing tuition now effectively tells Sacramento that students can shoulder these burdens and there's no need for the State to step up and help.
- We urge the Regents to maintain the tuition freeze and work to ultimately roll back, not increase, tuition.
2) In March they will consider a new Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition Policy that would abolish any fixed cap on fee increases, and any expectation that programs not exceed costs of comparable public institutions. Under existing policy, Regents must grant special exceptions to programs wishing to increase their fees by more than 6%, or for any fees that would bring the costs of attendance above that of comparable public institutions. In turn, professional programs, aware that they would likely be unsuccessful in their bids to justify more radical increases, have tended to seek 5% fee increases ever single year, or else the maximum they could without exceeding the costs of comparable public institutions. One could only expect, then, that this change would lead to runaway fee increases. To support these changes, they insist that some of these programs truly are competing with top private institutions and need to raise costs to remain competitive with them. On the contrary,
- We note that the existing policy already allows for professional programs to seek Regental exceptions to match the costs of private, rather than public, comparators. But we insist that this should remain the exception, not the rule. First and foremost, we are a Public University, and we must never allow our quest for top rankings to lead us astray from our core commitments to an affordable education that is accessible to students of all socioeconomic conditions, including those who would seek lower-paying public service work, rather than lucrative work to pay off hundreds of thousands in student loans.
- We urge administrators everywhere to reject ranking systems that focus on the amount spent per student, rather than the actual educational quality of these programs. By the logic of these rankings, our programs would be better if they featured weekly bonfires of $100 bills; but this clearly wouldn't help anyone. Let's work together to end this arms race that is destroying affordability while doing nothing to improve our education!
- We insist that yearly fee increases in excess of 6% are never acceptable. Even an 8% increase compounded over a 3 year period could leave students paying more than 25% more per year than when they started. This would utterly rob students of any ability to plan their educational costs, make informed decisions about whether to attend the UC, and would force some to drop out entirely. We ask that the Regents maintain the existing fee increase caps, and urge programs to increase costs to even the levels of these caps, only when absolutely necessary.
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