University of California to Delay Tuition Increase
Posted By Carrie Wiley on April 3, 2015 at 11:21 am
In late 2014, the University of California Regents launched a plan to increase funding to the school system. UC plans to increase tuition by 5% over each of the next five years, unless state legislators can commit enough money to defray the growing expenses the university is facing. The first increase was set to take effect this summer; however, as a show of good faith toward current negotiations, the university has postponed the first increase until at least the fall quarter.
The current funding plan
UC President Janet Napolitano says that the university has already made cuts to the administration as well as faculty and staff; however, the institution is still short on funding. The proposed remedy is a 5% increase in tuition every year for five years – unless the state is willing to make up the difference. This proposal is a departure from a previous agreement between Governor Jerry Brown and the university that promised increased state funding as long as tuition remained unchanged. State funding has increased by 5% for the last two years.
Delaying the first increase
As the first of the five increases was set to take effect, the University of California announced that it would delay the hike until the fall quarter since discussions were still ongoing. State committees are also calling for a thorough review of the university’s budget, including some concerns that were raised during a 2011 audit. Lawmakers maintain that, although the university has made some cuts, a detailed account of every dollar spent is in needed before allocating any more funds.
Power struggle or funding struggle?
There is some speculation that at least some of the current standoff stems from a power struggle between the University of California and state legislators. For most of UC’s history, lawmakers have shied away from demanding details of the university’s spending, and have continually funneled money to the institution whenever necessary. Some newer members of the legislature, however, are starting to demand more oversight, and are pointing towards high salaries for administrators and coaches, as well as the UC’s generous pension system, as starting points for budget cuts. This shift toward more regulation may be viewed as stepping on the toes of UC’s leadership – and the current standoff over funding and tuition hikes could be the result.
Finding middle ground
The fact that the University of California has postponed the first scheduled tuition increase – without any promised increases in funding – suggests that they are at least willing to compromise with state lawmakers. It remains to be seen, however, whether various lawmakers and committees will be able to find enough in the current budget to appease the board of regents.
Image: Wikipedia user UpstateNYer