July 22, 2021
University of California regents, citing the need for financial stability and more grant aid, approved a tuition increase Thursday following widespread student protests and two years of debate.
The 4.2% increase in tuition and fees — $534 added to the current annual level of $12,570 — will apply only to incoming undergraduates entering in fall 2022 and stay flat for up to six years for them. Successive undergraduate classes would get a similar deal — one increase tied to inflation in their incoming year with tuition frozen for six years.
The undergraduate tuition increase includes a 2% surcharge for the incoming class next year, declining for subsequent classes until it is phased out by 2026. Graduate student tuition would be adjusted annually by the rate of inflation.
The plan aims to bring financial predictability to families, help struggling campuses maintain educational standards and make a UC education more affordable for many low-income students by raising more revenue for financial aid, UC President Michael V. Drake said.
He oversaw a similar tuition plan at Ohio State University before taking the reins at UC last year and said it had increased financial aid, lowered student debt levels and increased student diversity. Under the plan, 45% of tuition revenue raised from California students would be returned to them through financial aid.
The regents’ action marked UC’s second tuition increase since 2011 and came after two years of discussion. It was set for a vote last July but shelved with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Drake told regents Thursday that the financial squeeze on campuses over the last several years has resulted in negative fallouts on students — more crowded classrooms and dorms, less interaction with faculty and more difficulty in accessing courses needed to graduate.
“This is not sustainable, and it is not acceptable,” he said. “This plan proposes a much more stable and secure way forward for students and for the university.”