This Date in UCSF History: Cuts and Fee Increase
Originally published in Synapse on September 9, 2004.
The University of California sustained its fourth budget cut in a row when the state legislature adopted the 2004-05 budget last month. To offset the continued decline in state support, the Regents approved an additional student fee increase, the third in as many years.
“Over a four-year period including the 2004-05 year under the governor’s January budget, UC will have sustained a net 16 percent decrease in state funding while our student enrollments have grown 16 percent,” wrote University of California Robert C. Dynes last month.
“Substantial program cuts have been made across the University, student fees have increased significantly, and faculty and staff salaries have fallen behind where they need to be.”
The new fee structure increases mandatory educational fees (generally referred to as the Ed Fee) by 20 percent for graduate students, but not for professional students, who will continue to pay the mandatory Ed fee at the 2003-04 level.
Professional fees, however, did increase for students in all of the university’s professional programs except for nursing, including the professional fees charged to students in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy.
The professional fee increase for medicine is $4,500, in pharmacy the increase is $5,214 and in dentistry the professional fees were raised by $6,300. The revenue is earmarked to shore up program cuts that would have been necessary in the face of the rapidly declining state support for UC professional programs.
“We deeply regret the rapid and excessive increases in professional school fees,” stated Dr. David Irby, PhD, the Vice Dean for Education, School of Medicine.
“These increases were not shared by undergraduate students and thus disproportionately fall on professional students. The School of Medicine is concerned about making up the budget shortfall of the state by imposing an unfair tax on medical and other professional school students.”
At the same time the budget was approved, Governor Schwarzenegger, Dynes and the chancellor of the CSU system signed a “compact” for education, outlining intended state support over a several year period for the state’s three college systems.
Dynes indicated that the compact “provides some light at the end of the tunnel and offers the hope that we will be able to stabilize, plan for the future, and begin to grow once again to meet California’s needs.” The compact is also intended to make student fee increases much more gradual and predictable.
In mid-August, the University of California budget woes got more complicated after the San Francisco Superior Court entered an order granting preliminary injunction against the University in a lawsuit entitled Kashmiri, et al v. Regents of the University of California.
The lawsuit challenges decisions by the University’s Board of Regents to raise the professional fee and applies only to current students subject to the professional fee who first enrolled (in their respective professional degree program) prior to December 16, 2002, and whose fees were raised after that date.
The order prohibits the University from enforcing or collecting any increases in the professional fee during the 2004-05 year above the amount that each student was charged during the 2003-04 academic year.
The injunction came just days before medical students returned to school to begin the fall term, and after fourth year pharmacy students had already paid a portion of the increased professional fee during the summer.
The Office 6f Admissions and Registration immediately reduced fees for students affected by the Kashmiri injunction and is working to refund summer overpayments.
Fortunately, the Student Financial Services Office was able to adjust the summer fee offsets for Pharmacy students receiving financial aid.
To account for the decreased cost of education, financial aid was reevaluated for all students whose fees were reduced as a result of the court injunction.
In the event the Order is reversed on appeal, or the University ultimately prevails in the litigation, the University intends to collect the full amount of the professional degree fee authorized by the Regents for 2004-05.
Depending on the timing and outcome of the litigation, further fee and financial aid adjustments may be required, according to staff in the University’s central support offices.