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UC regents give initial approval to 8% student fee increase

November 18, 2010 | 10:54 am

A key committee of the UC Regents on Thursday approved an 8% fee increase for undergraduates in a calm atmosphere notably lacking the protest rallies and demonstrators’ arrests that accompanied preliminary discussions the day before.

In what is considered as a precursor to approval by the full regents board later today, the panel's finance committee voted for the $822 hike in basic undergraduate fees for the next school year. That would bring fees to $11,124, plus about $1,000 in campus-based fees and upwards of $17,000 for room, board and other expenses. Most graduate and professional schools charge higher costs.

The committee vote was 9-2, with only student regent Jesse Cheng and alumni representative Darek DeFreece voting no.

Only about 25 students showed up at the San Francisco meeting, contrasted with the crowd of about 300 the day before in a rally that led to 13 arrests and what police said were several violent confrontations. Four police officers were slightly injured Wednesday.

Committee members said they voted reluctantly for the increase, which follows a 32% increase imposed last year. But they said they had no choice, given rising costs for pensions, pay, utilities and other items that were not covered by state funding.  “Nobody ever wants to raise fees,” said regent Sherry Lansing.

However, student leaders urged at least a delay to allow for more lobbying in Sacramento  for higher funding. And several regents said they opposed the hike because they think UC should look harder first for more money-saving economies. They also said they were worried that, despite a widening of financial aid, that the brunt will fall on the middle class.

UC leaders say that most families earning less than $120,000 a year will get a one-year reprieve from the 8% increase.


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-- Larry Gordon, reporting from San Francisco