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State budget shortfall forces second fee increase for fall 2011

The University of California Board of Regents last week approved a plan to close a $1 billion budget shortfall through a combination of higher student tuition, cost-cutting measures and operational efficiencies.

Regents, on a 14-4 vote, reluctantly approved a 9.6 percent tuition increase, effective this fall for all UC students, after agreeing with administrators that it was the only course left that would not erode the quality of the university.

“Faced with enormous financial cuts forced on us by political leaders, we only have a handful of options open to us, and all are horrible options,” said regent Bonnie Reiss. “As much as I hate voting for this increase, I hate even more letting this institution slide into mediocrity.”

Together with a previously approved 8 percent tuition increase also set to take effect this fall, revenue from student fees and tuition will cover about one quarter of UC’s budget deficit. The remainder is being closed through campus reductions, increasing out-of-state enrollments and administration efficiencies.

The 9.6 percent increase will push annual undergraduate tuition and fees up by $1,068 for the academic year that begins in August, for a total cost of $12,192.

Provost Lawrence Pitts noted that UC’s generous financial aid program ensured that roughly 55 percent of UC students would see no fee increase.

Go to the UC Newsroom website for Carolyn McMillan’s full report, including graphics that break down the budget shortfall and compare UC’s tuition to other area colleges and universities.

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