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Coronavirus concerns prompt UC Board of Regents to table vote on tuition hike

The University of California Board of Regents postponed a vote on a cohort-based tuition model, it was announced Wednesday. Chair John Pérez said the intent behind the model is to increase predictability for students and their families by holding tuition flat for returning undergraduate students and increasing tuition only for incoming students. (Ashley Kenney/Daily Bruin)

By Saumya Gupta

March 21, 2020 5:04 p.m.

This post was updated March 21 at 7:13 p.m.

The chair of the University of California Board of Regents announced Wednesday that the board will again postpone voting on a tuition increase, this time because of the current coronavirus outbreak.

The board originally intended to vote on a multiyear plan for tuition increases called a cohort-based tuition model at its January meeting, but postponed the vote to its March meeting because of opposition from students over the vote’s short notice.

The model, which was proposed in July, would raise tuition for all incoming undergraduate students while leaving tuition fixed for returning undergraduate students. Tuition would increase for each incoming class of freshman and transfer students.

The cohort model could be adopted for up to six years, if the board approved it.

Regents Chair John Pérez, UC President Janet Napolitano, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and numerous UC chancellors decided that with all the ongoing challenges due to the novel coronavirus, it would be inappropriate to move forward with the vote.

All nine undergraduate UC campuses, including UCLA, have now moved instruction online for the remainder of spring quarter or semester because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The regents meeting was held as a teleconference instead of the normal in-person meeting in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The cohort-based tuition model was intended to provide predictability regarding tuition for students, their families and the University, Pérez said. However, with all the uncertainty related to the coronavirus, the board decided that increasing tuition would not be the right course of action, he added.

Instead, Pérez said the board will focus on items that will assist in navigating the challenges related to COVID-19.

Alumni Regent-designate Debby Stegura thanked the president and chair for tabling the issue.

“Nobody knows what hit the economy is going to take in California or the world,” Stegura said. “We don’t want to be in the position of being even more tenuous with our financial plans.”

Tuition last increased for in-state students in 2017 and for out-of-state students in May.

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Saumya Gupta | News senior staff
Gupta was the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat. She is also a fourth-year psychology student.
Gupta was the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat. She is also a fourth-year psychology student.
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