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UC Raising Fees by About 25%

Students enrolled for summer sessions at the system's nine campuses will be affected. Officials say more increases are possible.

May 25, 2003|Erika Hayasaki | Times Staff Writer

The University of California will raise summer school fees by about 25% at its nine campuses, and it anticipates more possible increases in the upcoming school year, officials announced last week.

"We understand it's an awkward situation for campuses, and more importantly for the students," said Michael Reese, a spokesman for the UC system. "But we are facing probably the worst fiscal crisis ever experienced at the University of California."

The fee increase was distressing to students attending summer school at UC Berkeley, where summer courses begin Tuesday.

Aaron Crump, 22, a junior majoring in molecular cell biology, said he enrolled in summer school so he could graduate on time and lighten his load during the regular school year.

"I'm a bit angry by that, but I have to live with it. There's not much I can do," he said. "They did this last-minute, after we had already registered. It seems like they are trying to pull something over us."

Crump said he's paying for school with loans and savings from working last summer as a computer programmer. In addition to summer school, he has to come up with $600 a month for rent and food.

UC Berkeley has instituted a flat fee of $160 for undergraduate and $182 for graduate students attending summer school, according to an announcement on the campus Web site. That fee is in addition to the $127 per unit that undergraduates pay and the $167 per unit for graduate students.

Reese said summer school costs will vary at other UC campuses, because some will raise their fees by up to 25% per unit, instead of instituting a flat fee. The average summer course load is about six units.

Leanne Thach, 20, a UC Riverside sophomore, works three jobs as a student tutor, an assistant for the elderly and in a doughnut shop to pay for school and living expenses.

Thach, who is double-majoring in sociology and history, said she has been forced to take summer classes at Riverside Community College to avoid the high fees at her own campus.

Otherwise, she said, "It would be impossible. I wouldn't be able to go to summer school."

Earlier this month, the UC Board of Regents delayed a decision to increase fees across the board by 25%, because they said they might need to impose even bigger hikes and wanted to wait until they had a better understanding of the state financial situation, Reese said.

A proposed 25% increase would come on top of a 10% increase that was implemented this year. The combined hikes would bring the average overall fees for a California resident undergraduate to $5,082, excluding room, board and health insurance.

Reese said UC may have to cut up to $400 million from its budget, and the decision to charge more for summer school was based on how much students would have to pay if fees were increased by 25% for the 2003-04 school year.

He added that campuses will provide rebates for excess summer school costs if the regents decide not to increase fees for 2003-04. The board will likely vote on this issue later this summer, Reese said.

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