Several UC chancellors call for tuition increase amid pandemic-fueled budget crisis

California
UCLA is grappling with the pandemic’s financial fallout in part by redeploying workers, such as those in food service who are now making meals for low-income families as campus demand has plunged. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA is grappling with the pandemic’s financial fallout in part by redeploying workers, such as those in food service who are now making meals for low-income families as campus demand has plunged. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

As the pandemic throws the University of California into one of the worst financial crises it has ever collectively faced, top leaders at the majority of campuses say it’s time to consider a tuition increase for fall 2022.

Chancellors and senior leaders at five of the nine UC undergraduate campuses told The Times that the staggering financial hit to their operations triggered by the coronavirus crisis and a $300.8-million proposed state budget cut this year have underscored the pressing need to open talks about tuition rates — which regents have increased just once for California students since 2011.

The financial squeeze has prompted campuses to slash budgets, dig into reserves, borrow funds, substantially halt hiring — and, at UC Riverside, propose axing its athletic program, drawing hundreds of protest letters, emails and calls.

Last March, UC regents had been expected to vote on a proposed five-year plan to raise tuition and fees that would have begun this past fall. Under the proposal, tuition and fees would have increased by inflation plus 2% for new UC students and guarantee them that same tuition level for six years. The plan would have raised more financial aid, effectively lowering the cost of attendance for more than 100,000 needy students, and give both families and campuses financial predictability.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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