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Is a $26,000 UC education still a deal?

Uc-protest That's $26,000 for a single year at a University of California campus, not the four usually needed to graduate. The UC Board of Regents voted today to increase basic education fees for undergraduates by 32% to more than $10,000 for the 20010-11 academic year. Throw in the roughly $16,000 per year required for room, board and books, and the UC system fees approach $30,000 per year -- and feel a lot like the cost of an Ivy League education with few of the perks. (None of this is to say, mind you, that the regents won't be forced to raise fees again in 2010, with the state facing a massive budget deficit of $21 billion over the next year and a half.)

My days as a UC Berkeley undergraduate, from 2000-05, saw a series of fee increases, spurred in part by an agreement in 2004 struck between then-university system President Robert C. Dynes and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The so-called compact (it wasn't a contract, much to Sacramento's benefit) promised long-term, predictable increases in state funding for the UC system in exchange for annual student fee hikes. I'll admit that fees when I started school in 2000 seemed generously low (they were less than $4,000 per year), so when they started going up a few years later there was some mild resistance by students but a consensus nonetheless that most of us could afford to pay more. With each fee increase came the mantra that UC was still very much a bargain for students, a contention that rang true at the time.

But I wonder: With fees having doubled in less than a decade, is a UC education still a deal? Is there a student-fee ceiling at which it isn't? I'm interested in hearing your views, especially if you're a student at a UC campus or a parent of a student. Feel free to post your thoughts below.

-- Paul Thornton

Photo: UCLA students protest student fee hikes on Wednesday at UCLA. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times


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Student occupying in UC Santa Cruz

I write to you from a building that we have occupied at the University of California- Santa Cruz. As not only a student of color, but a first generation student, I am extremely discouraged by the bleakness that awaits higher education in California. By raising our tuition (which, by the way, they have pledged as collateral for more construction bonds), and cutting our student services, increasing class sizes, and overworking our T.A.'s, students become disillusioned by growing privatizations. Diversity has decreased because it seems that the only populations who can afford UC are the historical patriarchs of our society (white, male). Diversity programs and outreach to minorities are struggling to stay alive and majors that are imperative to cultivating future generations (community studies, humanities) are in risk of being abolished. I urge you all to get informed. We stand in solidarity with all students, workers, and community members of the world.


Lookup Facts Please

Dear Paul Thornton: Which of the Ivy League schools you think you can go to for $26,000? Brown University is the closest Ivy League school to UC Berkeley in rankings. Its tuition and fees alone are close to $40,000! Together with room and board, you're shelling out over $50,000. One would hope that LA Times would have better editorial standards then letting you publish such blatant misinformation. $26,000 for Ivy League education? Good luck.

UC parent

My head is spinning at the thought of having to come up with so much more money... all the while we toss money to people who do not deserve it... illegals. I am a democrat but boy am I about ready to jump ship....

My son is a freshman at UCSB.... my daughter is a freshman in high school.... for the next 8 years.... I will be struggling to pay for college.... and I am a college educated woman in a professional field... dad is an attorney.... we are just making ends meet.... We are the "get nothing middle class"

It angers me to see all these "illegals" getting a "free meal" ticket.... WIC, Medi-Cal, unemployment... all these things should only be given to citizens.... I know there are women with "anchor babies".....with nails done, hair done, just pumping out kids.... I'm so over it.

All the while, we struggle to support our legal, law abiding kids and put them through college....our fees go up and up for EVERYTHING.... There is something wrong...

While I am on this RANT.... why, why do we care so much about SPORTS! I understand...yes, sports are good....blah, blah.....but really, what is the percentage of kids that really do make it as pros... yet the UC system pumps so much money into JUMBO TRONS, recruitments, travel for the teams... I say... you know what... if you are that good then go directly to the pro teams... let the university educate kids.... not provide a stepping ground to the pros...

oh well.... let me go count the "change" in my pocket.... I'm over HIM too...

a California Golden Bear

As a recent graduate of UC Berkeley who's now paying $66,000 a year for a private medical school education, I definitely still think my tuition was a bargain. While the pain of a fee hike isn't evenly distributed, and I certainly know and feel for those students who are hardest hit, it's still one of the best educations around for a relatively low price. My degree earns respect universally, and whether students pay what I paid or $26,000 a year, that's still less than half the cost of the ivy-league educations that many of my new classmates paid for. And now, so much more than before, I'm being forced to evaluate the risks and rewards of going into extreme student debt in exchange for the knowledge and training school provides. I'm betting my entire financial future that the investment will pay off. In a world where you often get nothing more than what you pay for, it seems somewhat petty for students to claim entitlement to a world-class education without being willing to bet on their school.


Wah wah wah...i'm paying $34k a year for my kid at APU where there are no TAs teaching, small class sizes, and a safe campus. I believe it was well worth the added cost after visiting state schools with their impacted classes, huge class sizes, shortage of dorms, and the ever-present promotion of sex on campus.

There are 2 year colleges, Cal State schools and trade schools available if UC is too pricey for you.

Our country's economy is a mess...there is a plethora of highly educated unemployed people in America. How about a trade school? Learn to make something, fix something, etc. We need skilled laborers that are LEGAL citizens. We'll always need plumbers, auto mechanics, and paramedical personnel.

Let's improve the CA high schools and stop pressuring our kids to get expensive degrees that will ultimately collect dust while they wait tables.


you think that it is the white male that can afford this prestigious tuition? check out Bill Gates' scholarship requirements and then whine again about who is afforded the privelege of attending any state or private institution. Give me a break already!!

UC Irvine student

No, it's not a deal. The disparity in cost between public and private institutions in California is shrinking now. And because privates may be able to offer more resources to students for a comparable price, less people may be compelled to apply for a UC education over that of a private.

I'm speechless, disheartened, and disgusted. I'd believe the UC Regents more about their reluctance to raise student fees if they'd take pay cuts of, oh, hundreds of thousands of dollars. What does Mark Yudof need $900,000 a year for anyways?

high school senior

As a high school senior applying to colleges the UCs weren't my first choice, but my parents persuaded me to apply to them - and only them - because of how much easier it would make our lives financially. With one sibling currently attending a UC, we anticipated a much lower tuition. This fee increase determines my future and my fate. I haven't been working this hard in high school to resort to a community college, that's just not me. It's really frustrating to know that my parents could have been sending me out of state for the same price and a better education. Too bad the deadlines have passed and I'm stuck who knows where.


My generation has inherited a great amount of responsibility. We have inherited the responsibility to correct decades of environmental mismanagement, lest our species goes extinct. We've inherited a $40,000 debt per US citizen that we will pay back in the form of higher taxes for the rest of our and our childrens' lifetimes. The price of the education needed to be able to even begin to address these huge issues just increased more than 30%, as if the historical trend of tuition increasing at double the rate of inflation wasn't bad enough, and wage levels are stagnant if not declining. How does anyone expect us to right these wrongs if we won't even be able to service our student debts? How are we supposed to remain competitive with countries, such as the Netherlands, where $3,000 pays a year's tuition at a top university?

I am still waiting for someone to say "just kidding," this joke lost its humor a long time ago...


Why do they have to increase our tuition by 32%? Why not anything less? Why can't they wait til next year to increase our tuition like they do every year?

UCI Student

No, this is not a deal. To people who argue that they are paying more for private schools so we shouldn't complain: The UC system is supposed to be a public university. While we're paying more and more, we're receiving less and less. The cuts are visible throughout UC campuses. Our fees are going up, but where is the money going to? Our classes are still being cut, staff is still being laid off, and programs are being hurt.

UC Irvine

As stated in California's Master Plan for Higher Education, the UC system agreed to “[provide] high-quality and affordable higher education to California's residents.” However, I would not consider my current education at UC Irvine to be of high-quality nor is it affordable.

The library hours have decreased, the T.A's are over worked (e.g. there are about 500 students in my Anthropology 2A class and there are only 3 T.A's), and the classrooms are over crowded with students (e.g. some students in my Anthropology 2A discussion class have to sit on the floor because there are not enough desks for students). These conditions make it difficult for students to learn.

Also, with the prospect of another increase, I am not sure if my education at UC Irvine is worth paying for because it is no longer affordable. Currently, two of my friends are working 20 hour a week in order to pay for the current price of tuition. I am worried that that they'll have to work more hours if the fee increase is confirmed. Their health has already been affected due to exhaustion from school and work


I'm a student at UCI and I think this fee increase is absolutely ridiculous. In the past year, I've seen at least four major construction projects go up on campus. I'm pretty sure those projects could have held off for awhile.

Upset UCI Student

I understand that as a nation and especially as a state we are in an less than ideal financial situation. Teachers, students, and campus wide resources have all tightened our belts, willingly and unwillingly. However, I find it shameful when I see the payroll expensive for the administration of the UC system. How can we be forced to tighten our belts while others not only don't take a cut back but rather ask for more money. If the UC system is to survive as a strong educational system we need to act as a whole. If one of us takes a blow, we all need to take a blow. Get rid of the jealousy, ignorance, and get money out of your head! We have taken one for the team, now its time the UC Regents do!

Roarke Randall

It is ridiculous. It's definitely not a deal, considering while we will be paying much more for this schooling, we the students will not see a change in our education. Where as if one were to attend a private school where the funds are appropriated orderly and money is kept track of, the large fees are noticeable in the education of their students since they have more resources.

We are paying more for what we already have gotten in previous years. The Government cut the budget for public education because it (Arnold and the rest of California's Republic) understand that the public education system is not in need of so much money, but rather spending it inappropriately. A quick look down the list of salaries of the high up employees of the UC system show where our extra 10 grand a year will be going to.


This is horrible, I go to UCSD where it has billions of new construction sites everyday, new building everyday. It does not look like it needs any more money because we will waste it all.

Doris Su

I'm really glad that you compared the mild fee increases just a little bit less than a decade ago, and the fee increases that are occurring now. As outrageous and ridiculous as it is, some of the public accuses us protesting students as being spoiled, ungrateful, and unable to take care of ourselves. A 32% fee increase at this moment in time is an emergency. The UC system becoming the 3rd most expensive public university in the nation is an emergency. Students having to drop out of school because they've already been working multiple jobs just to survive even before the 32% increase is an emergency. This state of emergency and urgency demands students to protest and fight for their rights because the UC Regents have forced us to be backed up against the walls. The public needs to be more educated on just how much of a dire situation these fee increases are and need to support the students instead of heaving judgmental labels on them. The public seems to have forgotten that education is a RIGHT, not a privilege. But with the fee increases, only the privileged can be able to afford California's "public" education.

Aaron MacDonald

This is a joke, I might as well have gone to a private university...They may be expensive but at least they CARE about their students. The UC's clearly no longer care about our education Cutting many classes and raising tuition, it is all about the money and not preparing us for a successful future

UCI 4th Year Undergrad

UC fees have passed the point of being a "bargain." And getting a bargain isn't the point. The point is making higher education available to ALL, regardless of economic status, race, gender, ethnicity, heritage, location, etc.

The fees have risen beyond a point that makes higher education an option for every Californian. And they continue to rise. We must fight for our right to accessible higher education or future generations will not have the opportunity to LEARN that they are OWED this education.

Students first.


This decision, if it is indeed made in favor of fee increases, will definitely detract from the appearance of a UC education as being "a good deal". Many of my friends attending UC schools contended that going to community college and transferring in to a UC school would have been a better deal, even before the fee increase was spoken of. The plan to raise fees is simply an easy way for the state run university system to make some of the money which it sorely needs. It is easy because it is assumed that students have very little choice or political weight. It is assumed that they place enough value in the UC reputation that they will be willing to pay a little more for it, although still less than most comparable private institutions. But it is reaching a point where not only will the UC reputation be comparable to the reputations of those private schools, but the price tag will be as well, severely diminishing the widely accepted appeal of attending the University of California. And the community college and transfer system, while for a long time looked down on, may soon be opted for by many who might have spent four years paying for a solely UC education (although community colleges have not escaped the recession unscathed, suffering major setbacks and budget cuts themselves).
Raising fees is not the only option. A more fair option, and the option provided by our system of government is the more evenly distributed raising of taxes: property, gas, sales, etc.. Every resident of California has to pay these taxes and a few cents more may save the reputation and integrity and appeal of the UC system which, to this point, has been the pride of our state.

Fearful Student

There is a major difference between the UC, state, and city college education. I want to further my education and go further than my parents and siblings in life, but what I want most of all is to make them all proud of me for going where they haven't and be able to provide for not only myself; but also them, for all their support and encouragement. For this to happen, I chose to go to a UC.

At the moment, the only way I'm achieving this is by studying hard, work part time, and thank financial aid everyday for giving me the opportunity to better myself at UCSD.

But raising tuition by this incredible amount, I am not sure whether financial aid and my meager wages will cover it. I know there are many underprivileged students who are struggling to make ends meet as well - families struggling to make sure their children are getting the education they deserve whilst keeping the family afloat. It is an injustice to these people!

It is wrong to raise it so that the demographics of the UCs to be only those who can afford it, those of a certain people in the population - the privileged.

Everyone has something to bring to the table and to deprive people of that chance is wrong.

If this is the way higher education is - how it can be bought and only pertains to certain people - then we might as well just have everyone train from their birth where they will be for the rest of their lives rather than give this false ideology of meritocracy.

This is the message that is being sent out by raising tuition: that knowledge and higher education is bought and only sold to who can buy it, and that there is no hope for change for the better; where you are in life today - where your parents are in life today - is where you will be tomorrow and so will be your descendants.

UCB Student

The question is far more complex than simply the cost of attendance. While the raw number can spark debates, we can't forget that behind these numbers are countless lives. These are the parents who will be working one more job to pay for the tuition, the students who will have to take up more loans, the brother that may not go to college because of the tuition increase, and much more. Behind each number are countless stories, and that's the disheartening fact.

While the tuition may not be as high as private universities, but we are neglecting the fact that it is a public institution. A public institution cannot be compared with private institutions because they draw from significantly different sources of income. As a public institution, 26k is simply too much. I think I will end it at that.

UCSD Student

UC Parent: Madam, you're shameless bigotry against illegal immigrants does not give you the right to declare yourself an educated college woman.

UC freshman

I opted for a UC because of it's low cost, but i had to take out loans to meet this year, and might not even be able to afford the next. As a first generation college student it just makes it that much harder to believe one can rise up and do better for oneself.

ucsd student

Well it's all a part of what's going on with the economy. If you're willing to pay then what's there to stop you (other than getting in)? If you prefer a cheaper state college or even a community college, that's totally up to you. I say if you want to go to a UC and you're upset that the prices are rising, put in effort to find scholarships, grants, a part-time job. Students had it easy for long enough. Suck it up and take some loans.

UCLA student

In all honesty, if I knew that tuition fees would be hiked, I would have opted to go to a private school. The only reason I chose UCLA was because I thought that it would be easier on my family (2 older siblings in UCs and a younger brother getting ready to enter the college world) but obviously that is not so.

Those at private universities knew that they were paying high prices for education and are either able to afford it, have amazing scholarship deals, or chose to battle the high tuitions on their own. Those of us who chose to attend public schools thought that we would be able to handle it, but again, that is not so.

We're paying more for an education that is decreasing in quality; 884 employee layoffs, 1,951 positions eliminated, and 663 deferred hirings, as projected by Patrick Lenz, Vice President of Budget.

The diversity within UC academics are next. If so much is cut out of our education already, what's next? Our less-sought after majors, such as gerontology or ethnic studies?

Good luck to the out of state students.

UC student ready to drop out

I was walking back from class, passing through the student center on campus when I saw a young woman on the center stage dressed in a bikini and blue makeup dancing provocatively with a sign that read "BROKE". True story. Is this really what students are now being forced to resort to? This is supposed to be a place of higher education, not the strip club. Yet with the fee hikes, I'm starting to wonder if she has the right idea.
Just because you attend a UC doesn't mean that you have the financial freedom to pay for it. Sure, there is always financial aid offered but take it from someone who knows that this always isn't a for sure thing. I came to the UC thinking I was getting a certain amount of grant money, and even though there are three of my family members attending college, according to the UC system, they do not qualify and therefore my financial aid was taken away. Offering students more loans to make up for the higher cost of education is defeating the purpose. All it does is put students and the state in more debt. Families are struggling. Students are struggling. No one can make ends meet. My mother can work two jobs, my father can work three, I can work as many hours as possible while still trying to keep up with school, and it still doesn't help. I worked hard my entire academic career only to realize that educational opportunities are being denied to me because of my family and personal financial status. Thanks UC Board of Regents, kick us while were down.

A Very Concerned UC Student

All I have to say is this is SO WRONG!!! It's not fair for students, who are the future of this nation, to be punished by the state's budget/financial crisis. We should not be penalized for wanting a good education. A few of my friends that excelled in high school and one was even a valedictorian of her high school are thinking of taking a long leave of absence from college because they cannot afford it any longer. Tuition will continue to increase at this rate!! They will never be satisfied. We enroll in a public school, not necessarily because of a better education, but because it was actually more affordable compared to other educational opportunities. Now, even that affordability is being taken away from us. Word of advice to future college applicants: don't waste you money! I'm surprised that my college has even a penny to spare to create more and more new buildings, parking structures, and housing, yet have to cut millions of jobs on campus and increase tuition...


The best thing I did was leaving California more than 16 years ago. Can't you guys see that your state is sinking with so much liberal policies that benefit only politicians like Pelosi /Boxer and Mexican illegals? Your state is broke and it only gets worse. It's shocking for former LA residents to visit the place after a decade living away. You can really see the destruction all around you. It's becoming a huge Tijuana but with a price tag of Oslo. The thing that surprises me most is how "productive" Californians are getting used to that low quality of life, like it was always there. You're all being domesticated and soon enough you'll have the standard of living of Mexico. Can't you see what these politicians are doing to your life? Snap out of that domestication trance already!

Brian Bui

This 32% fee increase is ridiculous. Being a first year at UCI it is a shock to hear about a fee increase. There is one thing that you cannot cut money from and that is education. As for today's economy a fee increase would put many students in extreme debt and there will be less college students. It feels like today's UC students are the last generation of college students, if this fee increase takes place and keeps increasing.

Christian Haesemeyer

I teach mathematics at UCLA, and I can tell you the regents are making a huge mistake. I came here because UC is top research place that is also a PUBLIC university. After this fee hike, it can no longer be called public. Sacramento will agree and cut funding even more... and the cycle continues. I know of a quite a number of faculty colleagues who could go to a top private school with higher salaries whenever they want - but they like UC's diversity and public nature (okay, and the weather). It is all but certain many will leave in the coming years. Furloughs and pay cuts we can deal with; transforming the greatest public university in the US, and one of the best in the world, into a middling private institution, we can't.

Yesterday, the regents passed the capital budget. It's paid for with bonds backed by... student fees. Yet, it doesn't pay for renovating class rooms, or creating more quiet space to study, or to improve instruction. It pays for new stadiums and labs. Nothing against labs, but in the current crisis that's just wrong. It tells the students "you are being had".

I can only urge every Angelino who cares to come to the protest today and show the regents exactly what we think of their action.

Angela Duits

The three mistakes people make to be successful are: 1. You need a University degree 2. You need to work for a Fortune 500 Company and 3. You can't succeed in self employment. And the fourth: remember. people put all their assets and liabilities in one lifestyle,Marriage and it has the highest failure rates of all human programs. But yet this mirage still continues, why. Then working for 3rd world wages in a first world country won't payoff your student loans either. Our debt prison programs of marriage, homeloans, divorce and kids are destroying us.

Angela Duits
Long Beach


This is still a deal for the 30% of undergrads who don't pay any tuition at all. From an article on sfgate:

"Although the protesters emphasized the impact the new fees would have on the neediest students, about 30 percent of undergraduates will pay no fees at all. That's because the university's Blue and Gold program covers tuition, though not living expenses, for students from families earning up to $70,000 - just raised from $60,000."


The smartest thing that these young students in the UC system should do is drop out and learn a useful trade such as metalworking, plumbing, etc. Throughout the country there are unions that you can join where you can learn a trade for free and they will train you while paying you 20-30 dollars per hour, plus benefits. Keep in mind that many recent Ivy League graduates are unemployed or underemployed, working at jobs at or near minimum wage, sans benefits. Having a giant student loan at age 22 while making little or no money is not a good strategy. If you have a trust fund or can get a free ride to college, by all means go to college. Unfortunately parents and high school teachers do not understand that going to college by borrowing huge amounts of money or by spending out of pocket is a terrible decision in light of the current economic realities that will persist for a long time. Remember, school debt cannot be dissolved in bankruptcy.

The practicality and usefulness of going to college has disappeared with globalization and the implosion of the private credit bubble. Going to Business School or Law School is not a savior either, even at a top school. Jobs that entail symbolic manipulation have moved offshore or have disappeared due to the collapse of the FIRE economy (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate). Fields that supported the FIRE economy, such as law, have also been decimated. Software developer, Law firm associate, copy editor, etc. these jobs are practically non-existent in the U.S. to job-seekers.


It's not the deal it was.

I started UCI in 2000 and the total cost for 1 year was under $16k (including dorm cost). When you leave the dorms, you have you start paying super-inflated rent to the Irvine Company (usually) which decreases the farther you get from campus, but if you want to stay near campus, you're going have to split $1400/month rent for a 650sqft apt with however many people you need to make it work.

Living costs have gone up, education costs have gone up, and the quality of education has gone down because the class sizes are getting larger (due to the schools not re-hiring lecturers. Just try getting your necessary math or engineering courses in your first or second year without being gouged for summer classes.

No, it's not the deal it was even 10 years ago. You get less money in grants, you build up more debt, and your education is worth less.

This is just a blatant attempt to pass the bill off to those who aren't even making money yet. And in regards to a portion of the increased cost being covered by financial aid-- The State has a shortfall, so it passes some off the university. The university has a short fall, so it passes some off to the students. The students have a shortfall and they have financial aid, so some gets passed off... to the State! How much money is being spent for money to not be saved?

It's musical chairs and the only people left with chairs are the accountants and politicians.


One point - I have heard UC officials state that alumni donations are a way to make up reduced state funding. Yet, as a recent graduate like myself and others on this board note, students are continually paying more to get less. The result is alumni who fight to establish a career (made harder with today's economy) and whose education has less of an impact on their career performance. So please tell me .... as time goes on, where will the incentive be for alumni to donate to UC? Either they have not been able to attain a solid financial situation due to less education and more debt, or they do well, but are reluctant to donate to a school that did not help them. This is a problem.

Student at Ivy League University who transferred from UC

Hi, I did some of my education at a UC before transferring to an Ivy League university. I left because I was not satisfied with the class sizes and the access to professors (i.e., TAs were my main point of contact.) I am very disappointed with this opinion. Mainly because the author claims that $26,000 is roughly the same amount that it costs to attend an Ivy League university. The author makes one mistake: the person factors in the cost of living and TUITION which bring the figure to $26,000. If that same approach was extended to Ivy League universities the comparison is really off. Our tuition is roughly about $30,000 and our TOTAL costs are about $50,000. There is no comparison between the two universities from a financial standpoint. And lastly, here are some other figures to consider: University of Oregon ($32,016) or University of Nevada, Reno ($25,645). The big issue that needs to be discussed is where the VALUES are in the UC system. Is there focus in students, faculty, coaches or administrators? Let us not forget that these people can make anywhere from $170,000 to $2 million (please see Sac Bee state employee pay section for more information on UCLA http://www.sacbee.com/statepayresults/index.html).

Melissa, UCI Undergraduate Student

This is not the vision for California's higher education system. California higher education was built on the principles of ACCESSIBILITY AND AFFORDABILITY. The fee increase destroys these principles.

The UC system is getting closer and closer to becoming a private institution. The University of California belongs to the people, NOT THE REGENTS!

Let the people invest in their future, not the pockets of the Regents!
Let the people invest in their future, not prisons!
Let the people of California invest in their future.


I graduated a very long time ago -- 1984 -- from UC Santa Cruz, and these cost increases are unfathomable to me. I don't know of anything that has gone up in price this much. I honestly can't think of a thing.

I now have a 15 year old and a 12 year old, and I have absolutely no idea how we're going to afford their college. We've been saving, and I thought we had enough, but we are now so far off the mark, I just don't know what to do. A 529 simply wasn't good enough.

I would encourage my kids to apply elsewhere. Oregon, Arizona, Montana, Idaho... Practically anywhere but California. And the worst is yet to come, because now, not only is a 3.7 gpa not going to get you into UC Davis, but I wonder if it's even going to get them into a CSU. There are fewer slots available.

As if all this wasn't enough, applications to community colleges are up around 130%. So there's no room THERE, either.

It's pathetic.

A UC education is not worth $150,000, especially when one can simply move to Missoula. UM is a very good school.

Spewie McDermott

Aren't 'undocumenteds' allowed a price break (in-state tuition)?

Si Se Puede!

Graduate student at a UC

Reading these comments is frustrating in two regards. First, the students who are decrying the increase in the cost of their educations seem inchoate and unreflective. (The UC Irvine undergrad who commented first: really? No more prisons? Then you are supporting massive overcrowding and the creation of true hellholes for incarcerated criminals.) Second, there are the attacks on public education (and in California in general) from the usual know-nothings.

There is a lot of resentment against college-educated elites from people who do not have those degrees, and the sense that some college students have that they are entitled to a free higher education after 12 years of compulsory education is understandably irritating to the more-than-50% of the population that hasn't gone to college. What has also become true is that the idea that the entire US can be middle-classed, having "satisfying" careers in the creative or research sectors while working people in places like India and China (or immigrants to the US) do the "boring" work of actually growing, making and doing things is a dead dream (and fairly so.)

The working class in the US has to grow, and then advocate for its economic self-interests. Saying it "out loud" - telling a B-average-or-lower student in high school that they'd be better off in a trade - is still a non-starter in the US. But it can't stay that way.

All that said, the importance of a first-class public university system is in widening the diversity of a population, to make sure that there are always options for talented and driven people from under-represented and economically disadvantaged backgrounds to get access to leadership roles in business, science, government and culture. I am in favor of reducing or removing fees entirely - and of cutting enrollments for undergraduates by as much as 50%.

Graduate student at a UC

Again, against both the right and the left:

To "Student occupying in UC Santa Cruz" - the representation of white males in the UC system is lower than their representation in California. That kind of uninformed rhetoric does you a disservice. There is a problem with low levels of representation of Hispanics in the UC system, but the dominant demographic is Asians and Pacific Islanders. Otherwise, the student body generally reflects the California population.

To "UC parent" - this immigrant-bashing is misguided and incorrect. Immigrants come into the US for work, not for services, and put a lower drain on public services than non-immigrants. Why immigration continues to occur is that native-born families refuse to take up work that doesn't require a college degree. Your dream for a kid included a college education: why? White collar careers are disappearing, yet the vacuum created by the refusal of your kids to work in agriculture or manufacturing is, predictably, being filled by immigrants. Who you then turn around and attack...


With fees having doubled in less than a decade, is a UC education still a deal? Is there a student-fee ceiling at which it isn't?

$10K a year in tuition IS a GREAT deal for a UC education. Just like "Student at Ivy League University " noted "tuition is roughly about $30,000" This is 66% cheaper than an IVY league education. Sounds like an F-ABULOUS bargain to me. A quick check shows that USC costs $39K/yr just for tuition (see link @ bottom) as well. This shows that UC is 75% cheaper than USC. Clearly the UC tuition is a great deal.

Melissa, UCI Undergraduate Student wrote, "higher education was built on the principles of ACCESSIBILITY AND AFFORDABILITY". To me, this sounds affordable. I think people need to take Math to calculate that tuition which is 65 -75% lower than private schools is a bargain. These UC Students need to take courses in Econ and social welfare as well because the numbers also clearly show that the TAXPAYERS (i.e. ME) are subsidizing this and that given the current state of affairs with our budget, that the free breakfast, lunch and dinner, needs to be cut back at some point. (Don't get me wrong, we clearly waste too much money in other areas as well of society, but on this point of it's a bargain - YES. Should the taxpayers subsidize EVERYTHING?? C'mon - I think we've subsidized a lot given the state of the economy.)

IMO - All of these college students protesting are nothing more than a bunch of little college brats. Instead of figuring out a way to make it work (by hmmm, maybe actually working and figuring out what the real-world is about), all they do is whine/cry/ and act-out (oh, is that what we call protesting these days?).

As someone commented "I say if you want to go to a UC and you're upset that the prices are rising, put in effort to find scholarships, grants, a part-time job. Students had it easy for long enough. Suck it up and take some loans."

At the end of the day, this is a capital market with various degrees of socialism weaved in-between. If you want to start your own business, you can go get a loan if you dont' have enough money on your own. This is no different. The taxpayers are subsidzing this to help those that can't afford private schools. If you really believe in yourself and think the education will provide a great return, then get a loan, get a job, and above all suck it-up and be happy that you are able to go to a government subsidized university.

(These kids are probably the same ones that come out and expect to be promoted every year and make six-figures before they are 30 even if the economics don't warrant it- grow-up!)


Reader in Houston

Well, if the UC system is going to price themselves out of the market, let them. Personally, I don't see why Californians don't look at other universities around the country. The University of Illinois, my alma mater, is another fine, world-class institution (in everything except football!) and costs less than the UC system. And here in Texas where I live, there's the University of Texas which is every bit as socially liberal as any of the UC schools, but has a lower cost of living.

Do yourselves a favor, Angelenos - go East.


I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2008 and owe around $35,000 in student loans - 18K in govt and 17K in private loans. From my time there (2004-2008), fees would increase every year.

I could have graduated with less debt - I could have been more frugal, could have worked more, could have traveled less - but I truly enjoyed my college experience. Now every month I pay around $500 in student loans (I want to pay most of it in 5 years, by the time I am 28). In the end, I think it is worth it. I will earn a lot more in my lifetime than a high school graduate. I am still kinda cash poor in my 20s after college, but I know things will be better once I pay most of my loans.

For the current UC students, yes, the fee hikes sucks, but there aren't many options in our economic state. My recommendation - work more, get loans (but don't overdo it), cut back on the spending OR don't go to a UC. Try a Cal State and live at home. I work with many Cal State Alums in my job who earn the same salary as I do, yet they don't pay the $500 in loans every month. Or go to a private school with generous aid or even a vocational school. You don't have to go to a UC to be successful! That's one of the many lessons I've learned as a UC alum. The UC system is really expensive now, so if you want the name on your diploma, be ready to pay for it.


The main reason for the cuts to education is that the tax base is declining as thousands of middle class people and high earners are leaving California for other states. California has been spending too much money for decades and welcoming far too many deeply impoverished immigrants from the poorest least educated parts of Mexico. The cost to educate a population where even the Spanish language literacy rate is low, is a major burden on California taxpayers. California is going broke and undergraduate education is an easy target. Universities are money pits that spend most of their increased tuition funds, not on improving education and technology but on administration costs, pay raises, financial aid etc..


Well. after spending most of working life in California, paying taxes through the nose, my kids are ready to go to College... only to see that the cost of the Universities that my wife and I have been subsidizing for 28 years has gone through the roof on account of a bunch of Regents that have no clue what a public university is all about.

I love the weather in SoCal and our jobs are here but, honestly, my family is in the Puget Sound and my wife's brother is thinking of moving to Portland. My son is thinking of going to my alma matter: the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. At first, I didn't think we could afford it, at 45K a year, but with the UC running 26K++ a year, I figure we might as well stretch it.

And if we move to Washington St we won't pay state income tax which means another 10K in my pockets are taxes....

California, it was good to know you, loved the state, but until Sacramento gets is act cleaned up I don't see why the middle class should support all that profligate spending.

P Revere

At least the illegal aliens are given a break on their tuition.


$2000 more a year to make a million+ more over a lifetime....as compared to a high school graduate.

Call the whambulance.....the 'educated' are demanding their bennies as the expense of the entire state.


I fear our young people are getting a first hand look of what happens when government gets involved in a certain enterprise. For years the State of California paid money into higher education producing artificially lower tuition costs. While for many years, many were able to reap the fruits of this experiment, in the long run roosters have come back to roost. We have watched for years how the costs of attending UC (or any university for that matter) have gone up much faster than the cost of living. This is what happens when you have government intervention, keeping the costs artificially low despite increasingly higher and higher demand. Somebody please explain why college costs go up higher and faster than the cost of living?

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