Students from other states and nations who attend the University of California will likely see their tuition bills increase by $762, to a total of $42,324, next year, in a move that officials say will help fund classes, services and financial aid for California residents on the nine UC undergraduate campuses.
The UC regents next week are expected to approve that increase as well as move to freeze 2019-20 tuition for California students at current levels. Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged extra funding for UC to help enroll more students and maintain annual tuition for state residents at $12,570, not counting living costs and some campus fees.
UC president Janet Napolitano on Wednesday confirmed that tuition for state residents would stay flat next academic year, making it the seventh time in eight years. UC will work with the governor and the legislature “to identify additional resources, in lieu of tuition revenues, to ensure that UC students can succeed,” Napolitano told a legislative hearing.
The numbers of out-of-state students at UC and how much they should pay have been hugely controversial issues over the past decade. Their ranks 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 222,5000 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.
That growth led to complaints from parents and legislators that Californians were being squeezed out, a contention that UC officials deny. Still, the UC regents reacted to those political pressures two years ago with a policy that allows the percentages of non-Californians to grow on five campuses while freezing it at four, with caps set at between 18 and 24 percent. Some legislators want those caps to be even lower.
The nearly $29 million expected to be generated by the tuition hike for non-residents will 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.
At the same time, a separate UC statement says non-resident students “add to the global and cultural experience of UC as a world-class institution” and also contribute over $100 million toward financial aid received by California residents.
Non-resident undergraduates “generally come from families with greater financial resources compared to California families” and are much less likely to take out student loans, the regents’ proposal said. UC does not expect the tuition increase to prevent current UC students from keeping on track toward a degree or scare away new ones.
However, the UC Student Association, which represents both state residents and others, opposes the idea. Caroline Siegel-Singh, a UC San Diego student who is president of the statewide group, said she fears that only affluent students will be able to attend from outside California. “If you are not a Californian, you are going to need to come with obscene amounts of money,” she said.
She said the extra expense could hurt the social and ethnic mix of the student body. “There is significant value to having people who don’t look like you, who don’t think like you in class with you” she said.
Nuhar Khalfay, a fourth year UC Berkley student whose family lives in Colorado, agrees. She receives some federal aid but no UC grants because of restrictions enacted in 2015 that phased out such aid to non-Californians. Khalfay, a student government officer whose younger brother also attends UC Berkeley, said the tuition hike will make UC unaffordable for some students while heightening the perception that students from other states and countries are being admitted for the revenues they provide, not for their talents and intelligence.
Out-of-state students pay that basic $12,570 in tuition and system fees plus what is called “nonresident supplemental tuition.” That supplemental portion would go up $762, or 2.6 percent, to $29,754, with a combined $42,324 total. Last year, it increased $978.
The rate will be less than the charges are at two universities to which UC often compares itself. The University of Virginia charges non-residents about $2,000 more than UC and the University of Michigan about $7,000 more.
In his budget plan released in January, Newsom proposed additional state revenues to UC but insisted tuition remain unchanged for California residents. He also offered money that would fund an additional 1,000 California students, half of what the university sought.
For the current academic year, UC students who are state residents saw a tuition rate decrease of $60 to $12,570 due to the end of payments to cover the university’s legal costs of a lawsuit it lost. But that was small relief to students who may face a total bill of $35,000 including room, board, books and other expenses if they receive no aid.
More than half of UC undergraduates receive enough aid that they pay no tuition at all, officials say.