UCs to raise fees

Tuition for students attending University of California campuses will rise at least seven percent next fall due to what officials say are shortfalls in funding from Sacramento. Students in the California State University system can expect a similar 10 percent fee hike.

The new costs were approved last Wednesday despite protests by current university students, who alleged that charges for attending state universities have almost doubled in the past decade amid rising textbook and housing costs, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Fewer than 30 students matriculated to the UC from Harvard-Westlake last year, according to a Chronicle survey. Of those who elect to attend a UC, few do so for price reasons, since families which require financial aid can often get generous grant offers at private schools, deans said.

“Any little bump is going to affect people with modest incomes,” Dean Mike Bird said. “But kids who are depositing at a UC haven’t chosen it for a cost issue.”

The cost of attending a UC campus as an undergraduate student has risen by $435 to an average of $7,347, a figure that excludes books and housing.

At the meeting of the UC Board of Regents at UCLA where the increased fees were approved by a vote of 13 to 6, students raised their fists in silent protest and chanted, “No fee increase now,” on their way out.

UC officials pointed out that there was no fee hike last year and that costs remain relatively low compared to private schools and are still lower than several public rivals, such as the University of Virginia ($8,043 this year) and the University of Michigan ($9,723). The national average for a four-year public school is $5,836, according to the College Board.

UC officials also stressed that no one will be shut out of an education for financial reasons, since a third of the new costs will go to financial aid.

“It’s the most agonizing decision the regents face,” UC President Robert C. Dynes said, who voted in favor of the increase. “Nobody wants to raise fees.”

The popularity of the UC among Harvard-Westlake students has been declining somewhat over the past decade, Bird said, though price does not seem to be an issue.

Many students want to leave California, and they often can find large schools with good reputations elsewhere. Last year, 23 Harvard-Westlake students elected to attend large public universities in other states, such as the University of Wisconsin or Indiana University, compared with 29 for the UC, according to a Chronicle survey.

Out-of-state public schools charge California students a much higher tuition than state residents, bringing the cost to Harvard-Westlake families much closer to that of a private university.

“Kids want a big school with lots of school spirit and a nationally televised sports team,” Bird said. None of her students this year have picked a UC as their first choice.