Those looking to attend one of the University of California’s 10 campuses next year may need to set aside some extra cash. The UC Board of Regents approved a tuition increase for new students beginning in fall 2022.
The plan calls for tuition and fees to rise by 4.2% for new undergraduates. That means, at the current level, each student will need to shell out an additional $534 annually with the total amount of tuition and fees reaching over $13,000. It’s the first hike in four years after the regents postponed a plan to raise tuition during the pandemic.
Backers of the plan say it will make paying for higher education more predictable by avoiding more frequent, unexpected hikes. Proponents like UC President Michael V. Drake also say it will raise more money for financial aid to flow to low-income students.
But critics claim the tuition hike will hit vulnerable students, and they’re labeling it a “forever hike” by using #stoptheforeverhike on social media.
“The idea of an endless increase is what scared students so much,” says UC Berkeley senior Alexis Atsilvsgi Zaragoza, the lone student voting member on the Board of Regents.
“Students have lost complete power in the system for tuition purposes. That's the big scary reason for it. I get that it's supposed to be for stability, but it feels very unstable for people who are going to have kids coming in 15 years. What is it going to look like at that point?”
Zaragoza says some $500 a year may appear insignificant for now, but she says the financial burden will grow for future students.
“It continues to add that $500 on and on again. … Students who are coming in seven or so years [will be] paying over $2,500 per year. [Some] don't have that kind of money. Lots of students will pay the price for this when they shouldn't have to.”
For out-of-state and international students, the tuition hike will likely have a bigger impact as they would be expected to pay an additional $8,500 per year.
Zaragoza voted against the proposal to raise tuition, joined by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.
Personally for Zaragoza, it was first vote as a student voting member on the Board of Regents.
“I feel a little jealous of the previous student regent who got to vote on something as nice as tons of money for foster youth, rather than a tuition vote, but overall I’m happy to have been there to have at least made it a little better.”
The decision to increase tuition came as the state announced the plan to pump in an additional $1.3 billion into the UC system to reimburse the campuses for the loss of non-resident supplemental tuition.