Apologies: This was a post that was really meant to be published a week ago, and considering that the uc budget/fee increase will be public tomorrow, this post is much less helpful that it would have been. Tomorrow, after the budget goes public, we’ll be doing an ASAP breakdown to try and get back on top of it. I’m sorry!
The Regents meeting in November is coming up in a little over a week – and with it, the vote on the UC Budget, and with that, student fee increases. While the full report on the UC Budget, and the full story on fee increases will come out tomorrow on the UC Regents website when the materials are released to the public (and we’ll be doing a full breakdown on those when they come out), here might be some particular points students should look for when skimming for the first time the upcoming student fee increase:
Timeline: Looking back in September, fee increases were mentioned in the preliminary conversations about the UC budget, although they were not highlighted like they were last year. Tomorrow, the UC Budget, and thus the fee increase will become an official item of the Regents agenda for November. The November Regent’s Meeting will be the official action item for the fee increase, meaning that Regents will be taking the vote on the fee increase during that meeting. There is no mid-year fee increase in this budget package, and so the fee increase would be going into effect with the 2011-2012 budget year.
Overall UC Budget: It’s also important to note that the fee increase goes up to vote in November as part of a larger UC Budget. The fee increase is important to access and affordability to higher education, and there are also significant parts of the budget that should reviewed, such as the expected state contribution, debt service levels, etc.etc.
Amount of Fee Increase: Earlier in the year, there was talk about a 20% fee increase in November, along with a number of student protests across the campuses. Now that we’re closer to the fee proposal being released, the fee increase will probably not be in the ballpark of 20% – word has it that it’s in the low 10s or the single digits.
Allocation to Student Services Fee: Student fees at the UC are split up into two main different student fees – the educational fee (now renamed “tuition”) and the student services fee (formerly called “registration fee”). The Ed Fee/tuition covers all direct educational costs of a student at the UC – the costs for class, professors, TAs, printing, departments, etc.etc. The student services fee goes into all the student life/student services units and costs for a student – multicultural centers, dean of students, disability services, or things like registars, tutoring, and the financial aid office. The student services fee is unique for a couple of reasons – 1) the money goes directly Sinto student services and student life, which has traditionally been heavily underfunded and 2) the money is overseen on each campus by a Student Fee Advisory Committee or a Registration Fee Advisory Committee which is controlled mainly by students and advises the Executive Vice Chancellor or the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs on the use of that money. As a result, students have a stronger voice of student services fee money than educational fees, and have more of a say about where that money ought to go, and the services they would like to see come out of those funds.
Last year with the 32% fee increase, one of the big things was none of that fee increase went to student services fee, meaning that none of the student life units on campus got any revenue to help them sustain the heavy budget cuts they took in furloughs, staffing, etc.etc. This year, some money might be going into the student services fee, and so for students who are invested in student life, student services, or even student needs such as mental health, counseling center, academic counseling, or office of financial aid, it might be good to see how much money in the fee increase would be going towards student services fee.
Financial Aid: In September, Patrick Lenz ( VP of Budget) mentioned that the Budget Office woudl like to try bring up financial aid options that would try and address middle-income students. Look for additions or increases into financial aid packages, possibly the blue and gold plan, or other possible financial aid options. These have been pretty low-profile plans, so there’s not much I can really predict here, sorry!
Summary/Conclusion: Look for the budget/fee increase come out tomorrow. It looks like a fee increase either in the low 10s or single digits. There also may be allocations to the student services fee, which is significant for student needs and student life. Also, there have been hints to modifications to financial aid policy, possibly to address middle-income students. The vote will definitely be landing in November Regents Meeting, and will be coming into effect for 2011-2012 academic school year. More details tomorrow!