SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The University of California has approved its first tuition increase in seven years.
The university system’s Board of Regents voted Thursday for the plan to increase tuition by 2.5 percent a year during its meeting in San Francisco.
The vote came after UC President Janet Napolitano called for the annual tuition increase of $282 and a bump in fees by $54 for the 2017-18 school year.
Many students have vocally opposed an increase.
Critics have said higher tuition puts too much burden on students already struggling to pay for their educations.
Napolitano said hikes are needed to maintain quality of at the 10 campuses that comprise the nation’s largest public university system, where the student population has grown each year and state funding has been cut. Tuition has been frozen since 2011.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement on the tuition hike:
“I cannot support today’s tuition hike. We are consumed by situational responses, always dealing with today’s crisis and neglect of longer-term thinking. We can’t pave over the old cow path and hope to turn a new corner. It is our job to reimagine what a twenty-first century system of higher education looks like, and one that rises to the demands of our time.
“Wages aren’t keeping pace with the cost of education and the uncertainty over the Middle-Class Scholarship’s future is profound and pronounced. It’s in peril and that’s consequential. Middle-class families face the reality of making too much to qualify for a tuition waiver, but not enough to meet rising college fees, rent, food, books, and other costs of living.
“A Federal Reserve survey found that more than 46-percent of Americans did not have enough money to cover a $400 emergency expense without diving deeper into debt or selling, including many who would be impacted by this tuition hike which, combined with increased campus fees, may amount to nearly $400 in increases.
“We talk about how much we value the middle-class, yet this decision doesn’t demonstrate that commitment to the middle-class. New York is moving toward free education while California moves toward increasing its cost. We are heading in the wrong direction and today’s decision has let Sacramento off the hook from reinvesting in public higher education and offering all Californians a place of ascent on the ladder of economic mobility.”