The University of California Board of Regents postponed a vote to increase nonresident tuition until its meeting in May.
The board tabled the vote Thursday after the Finance and Capital Strategies Committee voted Wednesday to recommend the Regents increase nonresident tuition by $762.
UC President Janet Napolitano said it has become more difficult for the board to vote on tuition.
“Voting on tuition has become increasingly difficult because in some respects it calls on the board to think about what is necessary for the institution to continue to grow and to thrive,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano said the committee recommended a modest increase in nonresident student tuition of about 2.6 percent.
“It’s basically a cost-of-living adjustment,” she said. “It keeps (nonresident student tuition) the same in constant dollars.”
She added that the revenue gained from the increase could benefit the UC in other aspects.
“These are dollars that can be used and have been used to hire faculty and staff and (teaching assistants) to support ongoing educational mission at the University,” she said.
Napolitano urged the board to vote to increase nonresident tuition, prior to the decision to table the vote.
“So I urge the board … to evaluate whether this increase is of such a nature that it should be enacted, knowing that if we don’t do this, we’re creating a 30 million hole in the budget,” Napolitano said. “I am confident that the legislature will not deposit those kinds of ongoing monies for nonresident students.”
Napolitano said the $30 million dollar hole that would result without a tuition increase will impact programs at the UC.
“How do we continue to meet our budgetary needs, run this University at the level and quality for which is rightfully known and continue to educate the next generation?” Napolitano said. “Our primary purpose is to educate the next generation of Californias. We teach for Californians, we research for the world.”
Student Regent Devon Graves said some of the issues international students face go beyond tuition and fees, such as visa costs or costs of staying on campus during regularly scheduled school breaks.
“They’re impacted by basic needs just like our resident students. They’re sending money back home,” Graves said. “We can’t just offset the cost onto these students.”
Regent Howard Guber said having nonresident students at the UC allows other students to have unique access to an international community.
“To not have that asset available to the student body would be a detriment to the University’s intellectual gravitas,” Guber said. “One of the things that strikes me is that we’re looking at them as a liability rather than an asset.”
Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis said she hopes to push the California state legislature to increase state funding for higher education.
“It is absolutely incumbent upon us as the regents to raise our voices with the legislature and make it absolutely clear that this an unsustainable process,” Kounalakis said.
Kounalakis added that her office would also begin to push the legislature for more funding to the UC, considering the state now has a surplus of funds in its general state funds.
“I really call upon all the members to be part of that. To recognize that this is our opportunity and to really put as much time and effort and energy as we possibly can into urging the legislature to increase the allocation significantly this year, so that we can begin to look forward to the next few years and see how we’re going to be able to address this, not just today but over the next few years,” Kounalakis said.
Regent Chair George Kieffer said tabling the motion until the board’s next meeting would give the UC time to push the legislature to increase funding.
“The implication of tabling also is to approach the legislature in a much more aggressive way as possible as Lt. Gov. has said with respect to funding all our needs at the University,” Kieffer said.