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Hike puts extra burden on out-of-state students

By Dmitri Pikman

Aug. 10, 2003 9:00 p.m.

The University of California might find itself with a lower
number of enrolled out-of-state students in the approaching year,
as non-resident student fees rise to an all-time high.

This increase in student fees is due to the 2003-2004 state
budget, recently adopted by the California Legislature, which has
led to substantial program cuts, fee hikes and possible enrollment
caps at the UC.

The rise in student fees consists of a 30 percent increase in
student fees for both resident and non-resident students, coupled
with a 10 percent rise in non-resident tuition.

The extra income from the tuition increase will be used by the
UC to cover a $47.5 million loan, borrowed to cover the Legislative
cuts.

Hanan Eisenman, a spokesman for the UC Office of the President,
said that using non-resident fees to pay off the loan was the best
option the UC had.

“Non-residents provide a regular revenue stream for the
University of California,” he stated.

The hike means a year’s education at the UC will cost
$20,029.52 per year for non-resident students, according to the
UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Last academic year, the Registrar’s Office tabulated a
year’s education at $16,757.27 for non-resident students,
which places the increase at over $3,000.

With such a considerable fee increase, there is concern over the
fate of non-resident students at the UC and whether this rise would
mean a reduction in out-of-state enrollment.

Vu Tran, director of admissions at UCLA, said UCLA’s first
commitment is towards those students who are residents of the
state.

“Our current admissions policies right now give priority
for admissions for California residents, and that will continue to
be the case in the coming year,” he said.

Tran added that non-resident students would not be impacted much
by the fee increase.

“Any student from out of state who can already afford
(out-of-state tuition) probably will not be deterred (by fee
increases),” he said.

This is not the case for John Alba Cutler, a second-year English
graduate student from Utah, who is currently applying for his
residency and is in danger of dropping out due to increased
fees.

“If I get residency, I would be fully funded. If not, it
would be very hard for me to go on, especially since I have a
family,” he said.

Other students, such as second-year non-resident cybernetics
student Fiona Chandra, have to work as a way of covering the fee
increase, but she is still adamant in her desire to go to UCLA.

“I work to cover the increase, but the fee hike will not
make me reconsider going here since UCLA is still cheaper then
private schools with similar levels of education,” Chandra
stated.

Cathy Behrens, a counselor for the College of Letters &
Science, holds a similar view, stating that even with the fee
increases, UCLA is still a bargain for many foreign and
out-of-state students.

She added that increasing student fees would not serve as a
deterrent for non-resident students because every year the number
of UCLA out-of-state applicants seems to increase.

However, Mirette Sadek, a graduate engineering student from
Egypt, whose non-resident fees get covered by her payment as a
teacher’s assistant, disagreed.

“I cannot afford to pay $5,000 a quarter; I basically
found a job in order to cover my education costs,” she
said.

Tran emphasized the importance of out-of-state students.

“If you grow up in some different environment, you
definitely have some different perspectives. That’s why we
continue to admit out-of-state students to balance as much as
possible the diversity of our student population,” Tran
said.

Eisenman pointed to scholarships, grants and financial aid as
ways for out-of-state students to continue their UC education.

Federal tax cuts known as Hope and Lifetime credits, which
currently range in value from $800 to $3,000, are another way for
students to handle increasing costs.

Kim Gehring, director of UCLA tax services, said out-of-state
students might be eligible for the tax cuts, provided that they
meet all other requirements, such as income thresholds.

Even with the tax cuts and financial aid, however, non-resident
students still face much higher costs.

In the words of Cutler, “It’s going to be real
tough.”

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