COURTESY OF BERKELEY.EDU

State residents who are University of California undergraduates may face a tuition hike of at least $300 for the 2017-18 school year, ending a long freeze on such raises, officials said Wednesday.

Along with hoped-for increases in state funding, the tuition hike is part of a plan to expand access to California students by increasing in-state undergraduate enrollments next year by 2,500 students. Currently, UC enrolls about 181,200 in-state undergraduates.

Details of any such proposed tuition increase will be announced in January, with discussions and votes by the UC Board of Regents to follow.

Nathan Brostrom, the UC system’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said that the university is considering a tuition increase “that is roughly in line with 2.5 to 3.1 percent” above the current $12,294. That’s an increase of $300 or more. (The tuition increase does not include additional costs of housing and campus-based fees.)

He told a UC regents committee that the first resident tuition increase since 2011 would help the 10-campus system “meet the gap” if state funding does not cover rising costs of salaries, pensions and building maintenance.

In his formal budget report to the regents, Brostrom also outlined plans to boost in-state undergraduate enrollment, writing that such growth will “ensure that the university continues to accommodate all eligible California resident undergraduates who wish to attend.” UC has faced strong criticism from state legislators and parents for admitting too many out-of-state students for the extra tuition they pay, but at the expense of limiting the enrollment of Californians. UC intends to still increase the numbers of nonresidents next year, but at much smaller rates than in past years and capping their presence at such popular campuses as UC Berkeley and UCLA.

A 2015 agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown called for state funding for UC’s base budget to rise 4 percent a year, and for the tuition freeze to continue until the 2017-18 school year, when it could rise in a formula linked to general inflation but no more than 5%. Undergraduates from other states and nations now pay $38,976 and have faced annual hikes.

UC student leaders have voiced opposition to any tuition increase, saying that many students already can’t afford their education and living expenses. But UC officials maintain that a large portion of students receive generous financial aid, and that such aid will increase for needy students to cover any tuition hike.

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