This Date in UCSF History: Campaign for Affordability

Campus

[Originally published in Synapse - The UCSF student newspaper, Feb. 28, 2008] The storm of the state’s budget crisis is looming over students’ heads. Earlier this year in January, Governor Schwarzenegger released a devastating budget proposal that balanced the state's $14 billion budget deficit on the backs of students. The governor proposed increasing undergraduate fees by at least 7.4 percent and graduate fees up to 19 percent.

In addition to continuing the fee hikes, he proposed cutting $331.9 million from UC System budget, which could lead to halting enrollment for UC. Both the fee increases and halting enrollment are bad choices for California's future.

Students cannot continue to stomach more fee increases. Since 2001, undergraduate fees have skyrocketed by over 94 percent, graduate fees by 106 percent and some professional student fees by 160 percent.

When considering the total cost of attendance (including housing, books, etc.), UCs are the most expensive when compared to peer universities. Each year more students refrain from applying to UC because it costs too much, while current students pile on more hours at work and more loan debt to continue to finance their education.

In addition to the fee hikes, the Governor’s budget could force the UC to halt enrollment growth for next year's students. This year’s graduating class is the largest California has ever seen.

If UC doesn't increase the size of its freshman class, thousands of students who were eligible to attend UC would be turned away. The California Master Plan promises to allow all eligible students the opportunity to attend a UC and California needs to keep that promise.

This week the ASUCSF and students state wide with the UC Student Association (UCSA) will be collecting postcards to send to budget subcommittee chairs Assembly member Brownley and Senator Scott during budget hearings. On March 3, we'll take our protest to the state capital for the UCSA Student Lobby Day.

The state of California needs an accessible and affordable UC system to thrive. Students need the state to freeze fees and fund enrollment growth for the 2008-2009 school year.