What Would You Do? UC Davis Students Complain About Rising Fees

They think the state budget is a mess. CSU schools are freezing enrollment. Fees are rising in the UC system. What do UC Davis students think about all of this?

The budget crisis in California is affecting just about all of us, and if you're a college student or you have kids in college or about to enter college, you know it more than anyone.

Its impact on our school systems – from elementary to higher education – has been particularly strong.  Here at , we are seeing major increases in fees, not only each year, but even each quarter. The CSU system is planning to freeze enrollment next year. 

A reporter at the Los Angeles Times recently wrote, “The UC plan sees tuition rising up to 16 percent annually over the next four years.” That’s not just 16% in total, that’s 16% each year, which is a total of a 64% increase in tuition costs in just four years.  By that point, who will be able to afford to go to a UC school?

“We need stability,” said UC Presidents Mark G. Yudof in a meeting with the regents, as reported in the LA Times article. “We need sustainability. We need to be able to honor our commitments to our students, our employees and certainly our faculty.”

A common question, especially among protesters, has been: How drastic have the cuts been to the administrators’ salaries? In addition to the fee hikes, they often point to programs that have been cut. Four athletic teams were cut at UC Davis back in 2010.

What do you think? Given the realities of the state budget and the economy, should students expect more?

More drastic measures have been taken recently within the CSU system: if a proposed state tax is not passed, almost every school in the entire CSU system plans to freeze enrollment for the next spring.  How would that affect the next wave of graduating high school students? Would they choose a UC with its rising costs, or set their sights out of state? More information on this topic can be found here.

I asked several UC Davis students what their feelings are on the current tuition hikes within the UC system, and the direction those hikes are headed.  Here’s what they said: 

  • Sarah Gandall, a student at UC Davis, is happy to say she is “now a graduate of UC Davis (after her last final yesterday afternoon), in the most part because [my] parents won’t have to carry the burden of the rising cost of tuition.  It’s ridiculous.”
  • “I believe that the administration needs to take more pay cuts,” says UC Davis recent alumnus Joe Pippe.  “The fact that they have to keep cutting programs and hiking up the fees shows that they are not doing enough to keep the system balanced.  The university should be about the students, not only the administration.”
  • UCD student Marie Calhoun responded, “I am just a freshman, and the fees are already so high.  If they continue to increase at this rate, I may not be able to afford to stay at UC Davis.”
  • “Pretty soon the UCs are going to cost just as much as private schools, and that is just not their purpose,” said Bridget Bugbee, a member of the UCD women’s swim team.  “They are supposed to be affordable for everyone and give everyone the opportunity to go to a great school and get a great education.  People at the top have gotten greedy and lost sight of this purpose.”
  • I think that the increases in tuition over the past 10 years are extreme once you compare them to tuition across time, even adjusted for inflation," says swimmer Grace Benefield.  " These increases put more pressure on the middle and lower classes as a college education has become more vital in order to pursue most respectable, well-paying jobs.  The biggest issue I have is that because higher education has become the norm, the returns on a degree in many fields has decreased, making the expense of college worth less than the amount of debt from what it was 20 years ago." 
Milan Moravec March 27, 2012 at 12:02 AM
I love University of California having been a student & lecturer. Like so many I am disappointed by Chancellor Birgeneau’s failure to arrest escalating costs/tuition. Birgeneau doubled instate tuition. On an all-in cost UC Berkeley is the most expensive public university; more expensive than Harvard, Yale. Tuition consumes more than 14% of a median family income. UC Berkeley ranked # 2 in faculty earning potential. Paying more is not a better university. Birgeneau dismissed: increasing the number of classes per faculty; eliminating courses with too few students; refraining from exorbitant salaries, bonuses; doubling the time between sabbaticals; freezing all vacant positions; freezing pay, benefits & reforming pensions, health costs. Birgeneau believes fiscal efficiency is not healthy for Cal. Exodus of faculty, chancellors, and administrators: who can afford them? An American Enterprise Institute study found that UC Berkeley can operate well on much leaner budgets. Californians agree it is far from the ideal situation. Recently, Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police rammed baton jabs on Cal. students protesting Birgeneau’s doubling of tuition/fees. The sky above Cal. will not fall when Robert J. Birgeneau ($450,000 salary) honorably resigns. Email opinions to the UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu
Steve March 28, 2012 at 04:33 PM
As with all non for profit institutions (tax funded programs such as governments, bus systems, schools)... they start out with great intentions to take care of their "clients" and over time they morph into taking care of the workers and not the recipients of their services. If workers really cared about their "clients" how about any retired worker come back for their retirement pay until the crisis is over or they reach age 65.. the retirement age for the non government workers.
Milan Moravec March 29, 2012 at 02:47 AM
UC Chancellor Birgeneau is outspoken on why elite schools should charge more. With the leadership of Chancellor Birgeneau UC Berkeley is on an all-in-cost more expensive than private Harvard and Yale. World ranking of prestigious universities has Harvard #1 and Cal # 5. UC Berkeley is the most expensive public university in our country Birgeneau would like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar asked for. Chancellor Birgeneau’s leadership skyrocketed fees by an average 14% per year from 2006 to 2011-12 academic year. If Birgeneau allowed fees to rise at the same rate of inflation over the past 10 years they would still be in reach of most middle income students with the help of affordable student loans. Increasing Cal’s funding is not the solution. UC Berkeley is a public university with a mission of diversity and equality of opportunity. Unfortunately Birgeneau diminishes the principles which underlie our state and our country: equality and inclusion on every level. Birgeneau’s leadership denies middle income Californians the transformative value of higher education. Birgeneau’s tenure as Chancellor is a sad unacceptable legacy. University of California Berkeley is now father and farther out of reach for the sons and daughters of Californians


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