A battle between Gov. Jerry Brown and U.C. President Janet Napolitano is brewing over Napolitano’s proposal to hike tuition by five percent each year for the next five years.
Brown appointed two new regents to the University of California yesterday: Former Assembly Leader John Perez, who’s about to be termed out of the Legislature, and Eloy Ortiz Oakley, superintendent of Long Beach City College.
The timing of their appointments is significant. Tomorrow, the Board of Regents is scheduled to take up Napolitano’s tuition plan. Brown has criticized the proposal and Perez is also opposed. Oakley’s views on tuition hikes are unknown. But the L.A. Times reports that even if he were to oppose increases, dissenters may not have enough votes to stop the plan.
Brown has pledged to increase funding for both U.C. and the California State University system by $1 billion over the next four years – but only if the universities freeze tuition. For Napolitano, that’s not good enough. She says additional money is needed to admit more students and hire more faculty. But critics say U.C. officials are asking new students and their parents to dig deeper to shore up the underfunded pensions of employees who have contributed little to their own retirement over the years.
Current U.C. tuition is a little more than $12,000. Under Napolitano’s plan, students would pay about $15,500 by the end of the decade.