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UC Regents OK Higher Fees for Some Students

January 17, 1997|KENNETH R. WEISS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN FRANCISCO — Days after Gov. Pete Wilson proposed freezing undergraduate student fees for another year, University of California regents moved Thursday to raise fees for students who are not California residents, and for anyone entering UC's medical or other health science professional schools next fall.

But UC President Richard C. Atkinson also asked the Board of Regents to consider a long-range policy that would set annual fee increases for all undergraduate students, as well. One suggested formula would tie the increase to growth in personal income, which has been averaging about 4.5%.

"The key to making this work is to tie fee increases to some reasonable index of 'ability to pay,' but also to provide some stability for the university's budget," Atkinson told board members meeting here.

Atkinson and UC budget director Larry Hershman said they sense a growing consensus that the nine-campus University of California and 23-campus California State University system should work out a long-range formula for gradual fee increases to avoid sharp hikes, as were imposed in the early 1990s.

Historically, student fees have been tied to the state budget: In troubled economic times, budget cuts force officials to hike fees to cover the shortfall. But in flush times, fees remain flat.

"That hasn't worked out very well," Hershman said, noting that it hits students and parents with increases during recessions.

Lt. Gov. Gray Davis supported setting a sensible formula for fee hikes, but urged that any increases be delayed for two years--so the 134% increases in the early 1990s would be spread over a decade.

The Regent's finance committee approved a $590 increase in annual tuition for 12,000 UC students from abroad or out of state. That would raise total tuition and fees for those undergraduates to $13,150 and to $13,651 for nonresident graduate students.

The committee also approved a $1,000 increase for students entering UC's five medical schools and its dentistry, optometry and pharmacy schools. Nursing students will see a $300 hike.

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