UC to consider plan to hike tuition over 5 years

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Students at the University of California's 10 campuses could soon be paying more for their degrees.

UC Merced students say a proposed tuition hike is unnecessary. If approved, costs could go up as much as 5 percent over the next five years.

Students say school already costs too much, but the University of California argues more than half of its students across the state get full financial aid, so this increase won't affect everyone.

UC Merced sophomore Avery Knizek heard about the proposed increase on Facebook. And like everyone else on social media, he put in his two cents.

"It does suck for people who do have to pay out of pocket or have their parents pay like a lot of loans, and so I feel they shouldn't have to pay as much of a tuition increase," said Knizek.

University of California Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom says the UC has one of the most robust and progressive aid programs in the country -- 55 percent don't pay tuition, and there's no promise of state funding, even with the passage of Proposition 30.

"That's a 1.7 percent increase across all of our budget and that's not even enough to cover our mandatory costs, things like retirement contributions, health benefits, contractual compensation," said Brostrom.

And he says it's not enough to maintain the 10 campuses, nor is it enough to enroll more students. At UC Merced, 65 percent of students pay nothing. Those that do pay will pay gradually.

"Part of the reason why the proposal is named the stability plan for tuition and fees is because we've got predictability over the course of five years so that we can actually plan that out," interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies said.

Nies says there's a cap on that 5 percent and the money would be spent differently here locally.

"That type of investment would make sure we're bringing more faculty to campus, to help deliver more courses and to help serve our students, so all of that would be part of it, as well as commitment to increase the number of students from California that attend UCs in general," he said.

UC officials did say the governor does not approve of the proposed increase, which will go before the regents in about two weeks.

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