Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, introduced legislation Monday that would freeze tuition and fees at University of California campuses until the 2027-2028 school year.
The University of California Board of Regents last month voted to approve a tuition plan that will increase tuition each year for all incoming undergraduate students starting fall 2022. That increased amount would then be the rate for the remainder of a student’s attendance.
“California has an affordability crisis, particularly when it comes to out-of-control education costs,” Valladares said in a prepared statement Monday. “Freezing tuition will give our students a reprieve and rein in the runaway costs of a college degree.”
Valladares’s proposed legislation, ACA 10, would amend the state’s Constitution, an action that requires two-thirds support in both houses of the state legislature. If ACA 10 passes through the Legislature, it would need voter approval to become law.
In a tweet published last month, Valladares responded to the news of the tuition increase, announcing that she planned to introduce legislation to freeze tuition and require that future tuition increases be voted on before the annual legislative budget deadline of June 15.
“(The University of California) failed to mention they would be increasing student tuition during any of our Budget or Higher Ed hearings this year,” she tweeted July 22. “We approved over ($)1 billion in increased funding for the UCs to avoid this.”
Incoming 2022 freshmen and transfer students will pay an estimated 4.2%, or $534, more in tuition and fees than current students, the University of California Office of the President said in a press release issued on July 22.
The release cited stability for families, predictability of campus services and additional financial support for low-to-middle-income students and their families as benefits of the UC system’s new plan.
“Though perhaps counterintuitive, this long-term plan will boost the financial aid available to students with the greatest need, thanks to the University’s longstanding commitment to affordability,” according to a University of California press release.
“As the legislation was just introduced yesterday, the University of California is currently reviewing the draft of Assembly Constitutional Amendment 10 (ACA 10) to assess its potential impact on our system,” Ryan King, associate director of media relations for the University of California Office of the President, told The Signal in an email statement.
Mark Lee, of Valencia, said that as a member of a middle-class family that does not qualify for needs-based assistance, he finds the tuition increase upsetting.
Lee and his wife have three children — a son who is a sophomore at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a daughter at California State University, Northridge, and another son at Valencia High School.
“One of the things that really makes me upset is that they’re charging more, but the services for the kids are not getting better,” said Lee, whose younger son, a high school junior, wants to attend UCLA or the University of California, Berkeley. “I haven’t heard what they’re going to do to really make the UC experience better for those students, even though they’re paying more money.”
Lee said that the timing of the news of a tuition hike was especially upsetting.
“Just coming off a year where we paid full tuition, and (my son) basically did zoom University. It doesn’t feel good to see now that they’re jacking up the tuition,” he said. “As a parent, it’s hard to just accept that.”
The California State Legislature returned from its summer recess Monday. The last day to pass legislation during the current session is Sep. 10.