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Fee Increase Passes Despite Opposition and Protest


The Regents passed a 32% fee increase at their meeting on November 19 at UCLA.  Student fees at UC will reach $10,300 not including various campus based fees that will raise the cost of attendance to nearly $13,000, not including housing, food, and books.  The decision to increase fees was made in the face of significant opposition and protest by UC students and workers who feel that the budget deficit is being balanced on the backs of those who can least afford it.

Current UC students will feel the sting of these fee increases in addition to the challenges they face from reduced course offerings,  discontinuing majors and minors, laid-off and furloughed support staff and faculty, and the loss of teaching faculty in their departments.

Future graduates will have significantly more debt than they anticipated, and will likely be entering a job market with few prospects.  Raising fees by 40% over a one year period will undoubtedly cause a number of students to leave UC to seek their education through the CSU and community colleges, and cause many prospective students to give up their hard earned aspiration of attending the UC.

Despite this setback, the efforts of the coalition of UC students and workers over the past several months may have moved UC administrators to step up their efforts to lobby the State of California for more funding. Unfortuntately, the State is projecting a $21 billion deficit for next year and they don't anticipate an increase in the higher education budget.   

As the State may finally be on the verge of crossing the line where most tax payers realize that the strangle hold of the anti-tax  minority in the legislature is actually costing them more through higher fees and fewer services, the UC may be forced to accommodate its instructional mission with funds from other sectors of the university.

Of course, we'll have to help them with this.  As of this morning, there were new campus building occupations happening throughout the system, and we have a concrete date for a systemwide action on March 4th.  March 4th is over four months away, which gives us time to expand our base.  The issue of access to affordable higher education affects nearly everyone in this state.  By working in coalition with activists from K-12, CCC and CSU we can convince the voters that through progressive tax reform, including closing loopholes, raising the highest bracket 1-2%, and implementing an oil extraction tax, among other things, we can reprioritze education.

We will also need to support initiatives like the one proposed by UCB Professor, George Lakoff, that would put the budget and revenue process back in the hands of the majority.  Click here for more on this.

Below are some photos of the actions at Berkeley and UCLA on the November 18 and 19.  Look at these as inspiration for the long struggle ahead to affect real change at the state level and at UC.



Budget Crisis