Amid Protests, U. of California Regents Panel Approves 32% Tuition Increase

November 18, 2009

A University of California governing-board committee today approved a proposal that would increase undergraduate tuition by 32 percent over the next year, an unusually large jump that was met by student protests at campuses in Berkeley and Los Angeles.

The tuition proposal, which is expected to receive final approval on Thursday by the system's full Board of Regents, will help close a large budget gap, in part by raising undergraduate tuition at the system's campuses by more than $2,500 by next fall. The committee's approval came on the same day that California's legislative analyst predicted the state would face a new $21-billion budget deficit, making it likely that struggling state colleges and universities would soon suffer additional cuts.

Fourteen protesters were arrested at UCLA when they disrupted the meeting and refused to leave. Protesters then stopped the meeting several times, shouting "Whose university? Our university!" and chanting "We Shall Overcome." Hundreds of students and staff members also gathered at Berkeley and UCLA to begin a three-day protest of the tuition increases and faculty and staff furloughs.

University leaders have argued that the fee increases are necessary to compensate for severe cuts in state support. Mark G. Yudof, the system's president, said three out of four students would be shielded from the effects of the tuition increase by additional financial aid.