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UC, Defying Brown, Calls For Tuition Increases

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

University of California students protest tuition increases and higher education budget cuts at the state Capitol in February 2012.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

University of California President Janet Napolitano is picking a fight with Gov. Jerry Brown. She’s calling for five consecutive years of five percent tuition increases unless the governor and Legislature give the university more state funding.

Two years ago, Brown told the UC and CSU systems that if they froze tuition, the state would appropriate extra funding in each of the next four budgets.

But the UC says it needs more money to increase California student enrollment and restore recession-era cuts that hurt academic quality after keeping tuition flat the last three years.

“We used every single financing innovation and drove down our administrative costs,” says UC Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom. “And we’ve just hit a point where we think that having this kind of predictability is not only the right thing for our campuses, but it’s also fair for our students and their families.”

Brown opposes the UC’s plan. “The conditions of our commitment of increased funding every year over a four-year period have been contingent upon both systems keeping tuition flat,” says H.D. Palmer with the governor’s Department of Finance.

UC Regents will vote on the increases in two weeks.

The California State University says it isn’t proposing any tuition increases in the coming year.