When the Regents meet September 14th, they will discuss a multiyear funding proposal that will likely result in a series of large tuition increases over the next few years. The heart of the plan is found here: “Components of a multi-year plan would include the assumptions about efficiencies and revenue- generating strategies, and a proposal that, under the optimal scenario, would call for eight percent annual increases each in State funds and in tuition and fees through 2015-16. If the State is unable to meet its share of this cost, student fees would be raised further to make up the State’s deficit. Thus, if the State provides only four percent increases each year, student tuition and fees would increase by 12 percent annually. If the State provides no increase, student tuition and fees would increase by 16 percent annually. Incorporating this principle into a multi-year plan will make clear to all stakeholders that a failure to invest in the University will directly increase the amount students and their families pay to attend.” According to this structure, if the state does not increase funding over the next four years, tuition will go up 16% each year for a cumulative total of 81%.
Of course, the state could increase its funding, and this would mean a smaller increase for students, but if recent history is any indicator, the state is more likely to decrease funding, and this possibility is not addressed directly in the formula mentioned above. What the new plan does argue is that a four-year strategy would force the state to think twice before it reduces funding for the UC system: “Establishing the direct relationship between State funding and required tuition increases into a multi-year plan will make clear to all stakeholders – the Governor and Legislature, students and parents, and other interested citizens – that a failure to invest in the University will cause an increase in the amount students and their families pay to attend.” So far the state has not been very concerned about tuition increases, and so the real result of this plan could be that the state will just take for granted huge tuition increases. After all, students keep enrolling, and the university has shown that it will cover any state reductions by forcing students and parents to pay more.