University of California president Janet Napolitano said the proposed tuition hikes will not affect most students and that she does not expect President-elect Donald Trump’s administration to retaliate against the UC for supporting undocumented students.
In a teleconference with UC student newspapers, Napolitano discussed the proposed tuition increase, the potential impact of Trump’s policies on undocumented students and the UC’s efforts to reduce spending, among other topics.
The proposed 2.5 percent tuition increase, which would raise tuition by $282, would help accommodate more students due to increased enrollment, Napolitano said.
“(The increase) keeps tuition as low as possible, predictable and accompanied by a lot of financial aid,” she said.
Most students will not end up paying the increase because financial aid would increase by more than enough to cover the tuition hike, Napolitano said. She added only students from families that make more than $150,000 a year would end up paying the additional $282.
“We would all love for tuition to never be raised again, but without substantially more input from the state, tuition increases become a last resort to be used to maintain quality,” she said.
Napolitano also discussed the possible threat of deportation for undocumented students under Trump’s administration.
In December, the UC released a statement in support of undocumented students, which said the university would not help deport undocumented individuals and would continue to admit undocumented students.
Napolitano said she considered possible retaliation from the Trump administration when she made the decision to release the statement. But she said she thinks existing case law does not allow the federal government to cut federal funding for retaliation purposes.
Though there may be funding cuts to federal grants for the UC as part of a broader effort by Republicans in Congress to cut federal spending, she said those cuts will have nothing to do with immigration.
She said she thinks undocumented students should not be deported because many of them came to the United States at a young age and contribute to society.
“I think these are the kind of people you want to (have) stay in the country,” she said. “Immigration deportation resources should focus on other priorities, like undocumented individuals who have committed violent felonies or who are known gang members.”
Napolitano said the UC currently spends $8.4 million to support undocumented students through different programs, including a loan program and legal services.
She added the UC may have to expand its legal services for undocumented students if Trump eliminates the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program defers deportation of undocumented individuals who are brought to the United States as children.
Napolitano also responded to critics who said the UC is spending more money on hiring administrators than is necessary. She said 70 percent of administration growth during her tenure has come from an increase in administration personnel at university hospitals.
She said the UC has actually saved $200 million by changing its contract procurement process and $160 million in insurance expenses by creating a captive insurance company.
The next UC Regents meeting will be on Jan. 25 to 26, where regents will discuss and vote on the proposed tuition increase.