Thursday, November 6, 2014

What a campaign! First the leaks on tuition and now the deluge

First came the leaks
We  have twice noted leaks about an impending decision by the UC Regents to raise tuition.  Now - after Election Day is behind us - comes the official message.  There is an op ed from UC prez Napolitano and Regent Varner:

A similar email to all UC "Advocates":

Dear UC Advocate:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your tremendous efforts during the past legislative session. In particular, I am grateful to everyone who contacted legislators and Governor Brown requesting additional funding through AB 1476, the bill to provide UC with a one-time appropriation of $50 million for deferred maintenance of our infrastructure. This funding is urgently needed, and with your assistance we were able to generate tremendous bipartisan support for the measure and get the bill to the Governor’s desk.  Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed the funding, but your voice was heard, and we made significant progress with key legislators regarding the need to invest in UC going forward. 

I am writing today to update you on a new long-term stability and financial aid plan that will be considered by the Board of Regents on November 19th. This new five-year plan will provide for low, predictable tuition to allow students and families at all income levels, and at all levels of study, to budget for the total cost of their UC education. Under the plan, over the next five years, tuition and fees will increase no more than 5 percent annually – or $612 for the 2015-16 year. The 5% figure is a ceiling provided that the state maintains its minimum commitment of a four percent increase (which equates to a 1.7% increase to UC’s core educational budget) and continues to cover mandatory systemwide charges under the Cal Grant program. The plan will end the volatility in UC’s tuition-setting process and will:

  • Enable the university to enroll at least 5,000 more California students over five years
  • Ensure the continuation of the nation’s most robust financial aid program under which 55% of all California undergraduates have all their tuition and fees fully covered
  • Improve the student-faculty ratio
  • Provide additional course offerings
  • Boost graduation rates and decrease time to degree

It is important to note that even with a 5% increase, UC tuition is currently thousands of dollars lower than comparable public universities across the nation and is roughly 1/3 of the cost of private universities such as Stanford and Harvard.  
As the state economic picture improves, we are hopeful that the state will raise its investment in UC. If this occurs, it may allow us to adjust tuition by a smaller amount or allow it to remain flat over the course of the five-year period.  

Over the course of the next seven to eight months, we will be reaching out to you to seek your assistance in working with state leaders on a UC budget that maintains academic excellence at UC and expands access for more Californians. You can find more information about this plan at

Thank you again for your support. Fiat Lux!

Yours very truly,
Janet Napolitano
And finally, there is a flood of news articles:

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