Chancellor’s statement on UC tuition plan

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks released the following statement today (Thursday, Nov. 20):

I fully support the Regents’ approval of a comprehensive tuition plan. It is a necessary response to the massive state disinvestment in the University of California. If the University of California at Berkeley is to maintain its academic preeminence along with its commitment to access, affordability and public service, we need a sensible budget plan. The comprehensive tuition plan balances a much-needed though moderate increase in tuition with an equally necessary degree of predictability and stability for students and their families.

Much of the recent outcry against any tuition increases has obscured key elements of the university’s financial reality, as well as the extent to which low-income students will be impacted by the increase in tuition. These are some important facts:

  • Californian students from families with annual incomes under $80,000 will continue to have tuition and fees fully covered by financial aid, and the vast majority of California students from families earning less than $150,000 a year will see no increase.
  • On a per-student basis, state funding for the University of California has never been lower.  As the Los Angeles Times stated in a recent editorial, “State funding today (for the UC) is still about $460 million below where it was in 2007-08.”
  • As per studies just released by the independent Public Policy Institute of California, institutional expenditures in the UC — including salaries and benefits — have NOT gone up significantly, while tuition increases have been driven solely by dramatic reductions in state subsidies.

I want to assure the Berkeley campus community that I remain an unyielding advocate for our excellence and for continued access to our university for students from across the socioeconomic spectrum. We will continue to fund one of the most robust financial-aid programs in public higher education, covering as we do the full cost of tuition for the 38 percent of our students who come from low-income families, while also providing substantial assistance for families with up to $150,000 in annual income. We will maintain our focus on programs and priorities that have kept debt levels for Berkeley students among the lowest in the country.  And we will continue our efforts to reduce our operating costs in order to direct as many resources as possible to our academic core. In short, we will continue to do what is necessary to remain a beacon of excellence among universities, whether private or public, for the education we offer, the research we conduct and the service that we provide.