Sunday, December 16

GSA fights UC Board of Regents’ proposed fee increase

The graduate student government is working with a UC student advocacy organization to fight against a potential fee increase for graduate students in certain programs.

The UC professional degree supplemental tuition, also known as PDST, is a fee students in certain professional programs, such as dentistry and public health, have to pay.

The Graduate Student Association is working with the University of California Student Association to advocate against the fee increase, said GSA President Michael Skiles.

UCSA is the official voice for more than 240,000 students in the UC system and advocates on various student-related issue.

Currently, the PDST fee cannot exceed the average tuition of other public universities. But at a UC Board of Regents meeting in January, the board discussed changing the policy on PDST so that the fee could not exceed the average tuition of public and private universities.

The change would increase the amount UC students would have to pay in PDST fees.

Students in 64 graduate professional degree programs across the UC pay between $2,000 to $15,000 toward the fee.

Skiles said he attended a UCSA meeting in July to discuss the proposed fee change with other UCSA members. He said he was successful in convincing the Council of Presidents, the student regent and UCSA to oppose the PDST fee.

Skiles also spoke with the UC Board of Regents and asked them to consider students’ opposition to the fee when they discuss the PDST policy at the board meeting in March.

In January, the UC Board of Regents said it would use the money generated from the PDST fee increase to fund graduate professional programs, Skiles said. However, he said he believes the change is unfair to students.

“As private schools are much more expensive than public schools, the increase in PDST fees is a serious danger to students and should be vehemently opposed,” Skiles said.

[Related: GSA votes against rejoining UCSA in 2015]

GSA left UCSA in 2009 due to increased membership fees, but decided to rejoin in August, Skiles said. GSA rejoined because the UCSA president agreed to give GSA a free trial period for the school year. GSA members will decide whether the investment could lead to tangible outcomes and may choose to renew their membership.

GSA also aims to work with UCSA to prevent tuition increases in general and advocate for more funding for housing and Counseling and Psychological Services, Skiles said.

Students will pay a quarterly $1.30 in UCSA membership fees if GSA decides to join UCSA next year.

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Janae Yip is currently a news contributor covering Westwood, transportation and Los Angeles.

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