UC president Janet Napolitano had proposed a tuition increase for non-Californians.

University of California regents revolted Thursday against an administration plan to raise tuition for out-of-state and international students, saying the $762 proposed hike to a $42,324 total would push out all but the wealthy.

As a result of the surprisingly strong opposition to UC president Janet Napolitano’s plan, the regents decided not to even vote on the scheduled item but instead to consider possible revisions in coming months. The proposal had been billed as a way to raise nearly $30 million in revenues to help support programs and classes for California students.

Regent Cecilia Estolano said she was against the increase because it would hurt UC efforts to enroll students from across socio-economic levels from different states and nations. “We shouldn’t just be the playground of a few very, very wealthy people from a few countries,” she said.

Regent Hadi Makarechian, who is chairman of the regents’ influential finance committee, emphasized that the sunken value of many foreign currencies against the dollar in recent years already has made a UC education out of reach for most low- or middle-income international students. The proposed $762 increase would worsen things, said Makarechian, who immigrated with his family from Iran.

Clearly frustrated by the opposition to the increase, Napolitano warned Thursday about possible spending cuts if the revenue is not replaced. “Look, a $30 million hole is a $30 million hole. It will have an impact on programs at the university,” she said. The UC president said that the ten-campus system values non-Californians but she said: “Our primary purpose is to educate the next generation of Californians.”

At the same time, faculty and students say everyone benefits by having viewpoints from outside the state in classroom discussions and that UC has a responsibility to ensure ethnic and economic diversity among the non-Californians who do enroll. And given this week’s explosive allegations about corrupt practices in college admissions, including at UCLA, regents are clearly sensitive about anything favoring the wealthy.

Napolitano said she hoped to work on revising the plan and possibly come back in May for another try.

One revision includes the possibility of raising private funds for financial assistance to help needy out-of-staters and international students, who now are barred from receiving UC-funded grants. A third of UC tuition revenues now go to grants for low- and middle-income students, who can receive federal and other state aid as well.

Regents also urged UC officials to seek extra funds from the legislature to cover the lost revenue. But that will be a tough prospect given that concern in Sacramento has focused mainly on reducing the number of non-Californians at UC and freezing tuition for state residents.

In a related issue, several regents called for changes in state rules that currently make it impossible for undocumented students who attended California high schools for less than three years to receive the state financial aid that other undocumented students get. So while those young people live in California, they are treated as if they are foreigners, ineligible for federal and state aid.

With promises of extra funding from Governor Gavin Newsom, UC officials recently announced that annual tuition for 2019-20 would not rise for state residents, staying at $12,570, not counting living costs and some campus fees.

Out-of-state students pay that basic $12,570 in tuition and system fees plus what is called “nonresident supplemental tuition.” Under Napolitan’s plan, that supplemental portion would have gone up $762, or 2.6 percent, to $29,754, with a combined $42,324 total. Last year, it increased $978.

The debate showed conflicting pressures about the issue of enrolling students from outside California.

Many California parents and legislators have reacted angrily to the rising numbers of out-of-staters at UC in the past decade, alleging that was taking spots away from in-state students.

The ranks of non-Californian undergraduates at UC skyrocketed after the recession to help fill in for state budget cuts: from about 5 percent of undergraduates to the current 18 percent of all 222,500 undergraduates in fall 2018, according to university statistics. That ranges now from about 24 percent at UCLA and UC Berkeley to less than one percent at UC Merced.

Reacting to political pressure, UC regents two years ago adopted a new policy that freezes the percentages of non-Californians at four undergraduate campuses — Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego and Irvine — while allowing growth to between 18 and 24 percent at the other five. Some legislators want those caps to be even lower.

The nearly $29 million from the higher nonresident tuition was expected to help fund classes “that are critical to students’ ability to enter and complete their majors on time,” pay for library and technology services and support financial aid to Californians, according to the plan on the regents’ agenda.

However, the UC Student Association, which represents both state residents and others, opposed the idea.

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  1. James Lundblad 2 months ago2 months ago

    How is CSU maintaining a relatively low out of state tuition?

  2. Muvaffak GOZAYDIN 2 months ago2 months ago

    I can be considered an ex Californian: 1.5 years at Caltech, 6.5 years at Stanford. I am an engineer. Following online for the last 25 years . Now facts are : 1.- It has been proven during this 25 years that online delivery is as good as inclass delivery, some cases even better 2.- Cost of delivering online courses were so high 25 years ago. Today it is almost nil. Only cost is 3 months … Read More

    I can be considered an ex Californian: 1.5 years at Caltech, 6.5 years at Stanford. I am an engineer. Following online for the last 25 years .
    Now facts are :
    1.- It has been proven during this 25 years that online delivery is as good as inclass delivery, some cases even better
    2.- Cost of delivering online courses were so high 25 years ago. Today it is almost nil.
    Only cost is 3 months salary of the instructors . Instructors do not need IT man anymore. There are many softwares available to convert a course to online.
    So cost is only $10 per course per year. So let colleges charge even $100. They make money, too.
    Recommendation to UC Berkeley is increase the number of online course offering at low cost so that you can decrease the tuition instead of increasing. Your $ 40,000 plus tuition can go down to $ 20.000 plus within 5 years or so.

  3. Dawn 2 months ago2 months ago

    uhhhhhh I'd say that boat has already sailed a long time ago... With non resident tuition at 28K over instate tuition bringing it to over $40K for tuition alone....add in the high costs of California room and board for another 15-18K and you've got the cost of one year coming way too close to 60K a year. Factor in that it is darn near impossible to graduate in less than five years, the … Read More

    uhhhhhh I’d say that boat has already sailed a long time ago… With non resident tuition at 28K over instate tuition bringing it to over $40K for tuition alone….add in the high costs of California room and board for another 15-18K and you’ve got the cost of one year coming way too close to 60K a year. Factor in that it is darn near impossible to graduate in less than five years, the UC is clearly a public school that is far from being accessible. .

  4. Sonja Sevcik 2 months ago2 months ago

    I am shocked that the Regents let our top UCs accept up to 24%. A quarter of our student body is from out-of-state or a foreign country? Wow!! We are the most diverse state in the country ... maybe in the world! Those children deserve the finest education they can get for the best price. I would like to see what % of the 18% to 24% come from disadvantaged … Read More

    I am shocked that the Regents let our top UCs accept up to 24%. A quarter of our student body is from out-of-state or a foreign country? Wow!! We are the most diverse state in the country … maybe in the world! Those children deserve the finest education they can get for the best price. I would like to see what % of the 18% to 24% come from disadvantaged back-grounds!? And how does that level of disadvantage compare to our own students, in this state? What % of out-of-state or foreign students are accepted at other top Universities in other states? Show the real numbers.

    Replies

    • CarolineSF 2 months ago2 months ago

      They certainly don’t come from disadvantaged backgrounds, because the reason for the high acceptance rate is that foreign and out-of-state students pay much, much higher tuition than in-state, so that’s the motivation for accepting so many.

  5. Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 2 months ago2 months ago

    No UC campus should enroll more than 10% of students from outside this state.
    Until we reach a common understanding that this is both generous and fair, there will be bitter disputation and exploitation of system loopholes.