State Senate Plans to Combat UC Tuition Hike

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SACRAMENTO-

The UC Board of Regents’ decision to up tuition by a whopping 25 percent over the next five years was a shock to students and parents.

Tuesday, state lawmakers took note in the first day of the new legislative session.

“All senate democrats do not support a tax hike on students because they can’t afford it right now,” new Senate President pro tem Kevin DeLeon said.

They are backing a bill by Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego), a former professor at San Diego State University. Block’s bill would provide $340 million to the state’s universities that would increase class offerings so students can graduate in four years.

The average college stay has become six years.

“They will get out in four years instead of six years, and save about $60,000,” Block said.

University of California officials say the tuition increase was necessary, in part, to increase capacity and allow more students to attend. Earlier graduations would increase capacity by as much as a third.

“We reject that hike in tuition because we don’t need it,” Block said.

Under the plan, out of state students would pay 17 percent more in tuition. As an incentive, students would get a $4,500 grant for increasing class loads to graduate on time.

Meanwhile, the state assembly is working on its own plan to deal with the tuition crisis.

Governor Brown still has yet to weigh in on any compromise worked out at the State Capitol. Thus far, he has been reluctant to further fund a university system that he doesn’t believe is spending the state’s money wisely.

But Brown has also touted the importance of getting students into the workforce sooner, fueling the economy and paying taxes.