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FW: UC AND STATE UNIV. fees would be frozen under governor's budget plan

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  • david_quinley
    College fees would be frozen under governor s budget plan By JENNIFER COLEMAN Associated Press Writer SACRAMENTO (AP) -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 4, 2006
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      College fees would be frozen under governor's budget plan
      Associated Press Writer
      SACRAMENTO (AP) -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to propose
      a freeze on fee hikes at California universities next year, the
      first financial break for students in several years.

      The 2006-07 budget plan will propose an additional $75 million for
      the University of California and $54.4 million for the California
      State University, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

      Both systems had voted to raise that much money with increased
      student fees for the fall 2006 semester. If state lawmakers approve
      Schwarzenegger's spending plan, the UC and CSU systems would keep
      fees at the current level.

      Administration officials typically release preliminary details of
      the governor's budget before he submits it to the legislature, which
      he must do by Jan. 10.

      The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said in November that
      an unexpected jump in tax income and ongoing spending cuts will
      raise $5.2 billion more than previously projected. That will more
      than cover what had been anticipated as a $4 billion shortfall for
      next year and leave a reserve of $1.2 billion.

      Fees for UC and CSU students have soared in recent years, especially
      after regents for both systems struck a deal with Gov. Arnold
      Schwarzenegger to make cuts and raise fees in return for gradual
      increases in state funding.

      The deal was seen as a way to stabilize the budgets of institutions
      that had their funding cut as California endured multibillion dollar
      budget deficits. But it also has led to campus protests and
      criticism from Democrats who complained that the soaring fees have
      unfairly hurt middle- and working-class families.

      Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, commended
      Schwarzenegger for proposing the freeze. He has been one of the
      legislature's most vocal critics of the rising cost of a college
      education in the state.

      As a UC regent, he voted against the board's latest fee increase in
      November, its fifth in a row.
      "Anytime you raise fees at the university, what you're doing is
      raising taxes for those students and their families," Nunez said in
      a telephone interview.

      He said he hoped the proposal was a sign the governor was willing to
      work more closely with the Democrat-controlled legislature after
      this year's session was dominated by the divisive special election.
      "This is a very, very positive overture on the part of the
      governor," Nunez said. "It's an expression of good faith that he
      indeed is committed to working with Democrats by taking on an issue
      that we've been advocating for the last 14 months."

      The move is the latest by Schwarzenegger in an attempt to smooth his
      image heading into the new year after voters rejected his four "year
      of reform" initiatives in November. He previously settled a lawsuit
      over hospital staffing ratios that had angered a powerful nurses
      union and appointed a Democrat to be his chief of staff.

      In November, regents with the 10-campus University of California
      voted to boost in-state undergraduate fees by 8 percent, to about
      $6,600. Including various campus fees, annual costs will be about
      $7,300 if the fees stand. That amount would represent an 89 percent
      increase for students since the 2001-02 academic year.

      UC graduate students would face a 10 percent rise in fees to about
      $9,400 a year, including miscellaneous campus fees. Fees for
      professional schools would rise about 5 percent.

      The CSU Board of Trustees voted in October to raise fees 8 percent
      for undergraduates and 10 percent for graduate students. With the
      increases, the 23-campus system will be charging $2,724 per year for
      undergraduates in 2006, about 90 percent more than students paid in

      Students also pay campus fees, which this year averaged $644
      Ultimately, Democrats would like to see higher education fees rolled
      back as a way to make college more affordable, Nunez said.
      "These were taxes, and when the economy improves, we need to figure
      out another way to balance our budget rather than on the backs of
      our colleges and universities and the students who attend them," he

      Schwarzenegger's budget plan also will add $11.9 million to raise
      the maximum amount of Cal Grants for students at private colleges
      and universities, the official said. The extra money would raise the
      maximum annual grant to $9,708 from $8,322.
      Nunez said that move would return the Cal Grant program to its level
      of two years ago.

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