|Office of the Chancellor|
To the Campus Community:
Today, following a recommendation by University of California President Mark Yudof, the UC Board of Regents approved a 9.6 percent tuition increase for 2011–12. This is in addition to the 8 percent tuition increase over our 2010–11 fee that the Regents had already passed in November 2010. The increase established today, which will go into effect beginning with fall classes, will raise mandatory systemwide charges, including tuition and the student services fee, for the academic year by an additional $1,068, to a total of $12,192.
I recognize and regret that this news will be painful for our students and their families, not only because of the financial cost but also because of its timing. With less than two months before the start of the new academic year, we know that many have carefully planned their budgets based on the previously announced tuition.
Although the news is disheartening, the Regents had no other options. Today’s action was necessitated by a significantly larger-than-expected budget cut from the state of California to the UC for 2011–12. Earlier this year, Governor Jerry Brown proposed reducing state funding to the UC for the current fiscal year by $500 million. However, by the time he signed the final budget on June 30, that reduction had swelled to $650 million—a cut of about 24 percent—which necessitated the additional tuition increase.
As it has done in the past, the UC will set aside one-third of the revenue from the tuition increase for financial aid, including the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which covers UC fees for students whose annual family income is less than $80,000. In addition, the UC expects that increases in institutional aid and Cal Grants will cover the amount of this latest tuition increase for undergraduates from families earning less than $120,000 per year.
It is important to note that these tuition increases are just one component of our strategy for meeting our budgets moving forward; we are not asking students and students’ families to bear the full burden of the budget reductions. Rather, cost-cutting and revenue-generating measures will be used to address about three-quarters of the UC’s systemwide billion-dollar budget gap. At UCLA in particular, we have for several years been planning judiciously in light of declining state support. Ongoing restructuring of academic and administrative programs, a heightened focus on generating new revenues, and partnerships with the UC Office of the President and other UC campuses will ensure that UCLA is well positioned to thrive in this new financial reality.
Despite the continued financial constraints, our campus leadership has taken decisive measures to provide funding and other resources to ensure that all students receive the world-class education Californians expect from UCLA. Students will have access to the courses they need to complete their majors, and we will see to it that they can graduate in a timely manner.
Today’s news adds to our frustration with California’s inability to properly support the UC system, but it only continues a trend that has accelerated during recent years. The state’s disinvestment in public higher education is all the more dispiriting because a majority of the lawmakers who are pulling funds away from our colleges and universities reaped the benefits of these outstanding institutions. As I wrote recently in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, two-thirds of California Assembly and Senate members attended at least one California community college, Cal State or UC, and many attended two or three.
All of us who believe the state has a responsibility to help ensure access to quality higher education must join the effort to advocate on behalf of the university. Please register at UC for California and let lawmakers in Sacramento know that the cuts to higher education are jeopardizing our state’s future.
Gene D. Block