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Essential California: University of California tuition is increased amid student outcry

Students play and study around the campus of the University of California at Berkeley in 2017.
Tuition for all University of California students, including those at UC Berkeley, above, will go up next year for incoming freshmen.
(David Butow / For The Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday — phew! — July 23. I’m Lila Seidman, a Metro reporter filling in for Justin Ray and giving you the run-down on what’s going on across the Golden State.

University of California students will see a bump in their tuition bill starting next fall.

The 4.2% increase in tuition and fees amounts to $534 on top of the current annual $12,570 they’re expected to shell out. It will apply only to incoming undergraduates and will remain at that rate for up to six years, reports my colleague Teresa Watanabe, who covers education for The Times.

Future freshman classes will get a similar deal — a hike tied to inflation that will remain static for several years.

One unintuitive argument for the increase is that it will actually make a coveted UC education more affordable for students who struggle to pay by raising more revenue for financial aid. UC President Michael V. Drake, who made that case, said that’s what happened when he oversaw a similar plan at Ohio State University: increases in financial aid and diversity and a dip in student debt. He said it also helps uphold educational standards and offer families financial predictability.

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Opponents, who include students and university officials, expressed a less rosy view of the regents’ move — which comes as some of the state’s most vulnerable families continue to contend with financial havoc wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Read the story: UC raises tuition despite student outcry, touting more financial aid and budget stability in the Los Angeles Times.]

Watanabe reported earlier this week that the UC system just admitted its most diverse class after sifting through a record-smashing number of applications. About 45% of prospective freshmen admitted were low-income.

Students who derided the tuition hike said during public comment that it would unfairly burden those who have difficulty covering the cost as it is.

The UC Student Assn. argued that the plan would hurt students who fall through the cracks: LGBTQ students whose parents refuse to pay college costs, immigrants here without legal authorization who don’t qualify for in-state tuition, and low-income nonresident students with limited access to financial aid.

In their campaign again the increase, the UC Student Assn. used the hashtag #stoptheforeverhike.

Ultimately, supporters prevailed on a 17-5 vote. It marks the UC system’s second tuition increase since 2011.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

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L.A. STORIES

L.A. County’s coronavirus surge worsens: County health officials reported 2,767 additional cases Thursday, the second straight day with more than 2,000 newly confirmed infections. Case counts haven’t been this high since late February, and hospitalizations have also surged to levels not seen in months. Partly to blame is the highly contagious Delta variant, which is believed to be twice as transmissible as other strains, officials said. They urged even those who have been vaccinated to take precautions. Los Angeles Times

Traffic in L.A. is terrible again: The pandemic brought much devastation. One upshot was the stark decrease in traffic on L.A.'s notoriously congested freeways. Now that traffic levels have surged to Before Times levels, can we do something about it? Experts weigh in on options, including charging motorists to hit the road. Los Angeles Times

CBS enacts sweeping shakeup: CBS has ousted two senior managers responsible for its television stations in L.A. and Chicago. The moves extend a dramatic management makeover at CBS News and the network’s stations division in the wake of a Los Angeles Times investigation that uncovered alleged misconduct, racism and misogyny at a handful of CBS-owned stations. Los Angeles Times

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POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Masks on in San Mateo County buildings: San Mateo County employees and members of the public visiting county buildings will have to wear face masks regardless of vaccination status starting Monday to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the board president said. Mercury News

Upzoning in my backyard?: A bill advancing through the California Legislature to allow for denser home building in single-family zones would be likely to produce an uptick in the state’s housing supply, but the so-called upzoning probably won’t cause mass redevelopment, according to a recent report. Los Angeles Times

$20,000 trash cans: San Francisco has long wanted to replace its universally loathed green trash receptacles seen on sidewalks all over the city. On Wednesday, a supervisors’ committee learned new prototypes will cost between $12,000 and $20,000 each. Despite the high price tag, the committee advanced a proposal to design 15 trash can prototypes for a pilot program. A full board vote is set for next week. San Francisco Chronicle

CRIME AND COURTS

Horror of Ed Buck’s ‘party and play’ fetish exposed: Buck, a former Democratic political power player whose trial began last week, is charged with supplying the methamphetamine that killed two Black men who died of overdoses in Buck’s apartment. The sordid details of what took place in the apartment are laid bare in chilling testimony, as well as hundreds of videos and photos Buck took of the men smoking or injecting meth naked or in the white underwear that he had them try on for his pleasure. Los Angeles Times

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HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Dixie fire reaches ‘megafire’ status, as other fires rage in the West: The aggressive Dixie fire burning in Butte and Plumas counties mushroomed to more than 100,000 acres Thursday, becoming the second California blaze this year to surpass the megafire milestone. Days ago, the Sugar fire in Butte County garnered the designation when it grew to 105,000 acres. Wildfire experts have said California’s fires are burning faster and arriving earlier this year because heat and drought have dried the landscape and primed vegetation to burn. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Two women behind ‘The Daily Show’ were ‘erased’: The story of one of the most influential programs of the last 25 years can be traced back to the day when TV producer Madeleine Smithberg and comedian Lizz Winstead moved into the same building in Manhattan. The neighbors-turned-friends created the first incarnation of “The Daily Show,” a new form of satire that remains ubiquitous in late-night TV. They’re rarely acknowledged for it. Los Angeles Times

S.F.'s newest torta pop-up: Bay Area cooks Jacob Croom and baker Jaren Wilkinson, both Tartine alumni, have launched a new pop-up that offers creative takes on the Mexican sandwich. Croom recently started diving into Mexican food — prompted by the death of his maternal grandmother a few years ago. San Francisco Chronicle

Sonoma County Fair is back — sort of: Last year, the Sonoma County Fair was canceled over coronavirus concerns for the first time since World War II. This month it’s back, but on a smaller scale and with a new name: the Summer Fun Fest. There will be carnival rides, fair food, livestock judging, pig races and, for the first time, camel rides. Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Junior lifeguards end class with a splash: With a little fear in their eyes and a lot of sunscreen, 18 Junior Lifeguards jumped off the Hermosa Beach Pier on the last day of their summer session. The jump, which continued an annual ritual, was welcomed after the 2020 program was canceled. L.A. County junior lifeguards learn how to save lives, stay fit and be safe in the ocean. This delightful photo essay captures the final class. Los Angeles Times

An L.A. County Junior Lifeguard instructor watches a junior guard jump off the Hermosa Beach pier into the water.
Junior Lifeguard instructor Trevor Leon, left, watches a junior guard jump off the Hermosa Beach Pier into about 20 feet of water on the last day of their summer session. The jump is an annual ritual.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles: Sunny, 86. (It could be worse.) San Diego: Partly cloudy, 75. San Francisco: Partly cloudy, 66. San Jose: Sunny, 82. Fresno: Sunny, 102. Sacramento: Sunny, 100.

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory is from Lynn McClain:

For a first trip to Disneyland in 1957, my mother and I wore matching black cotton skirts, white blouses, pearls and black patent sandals. My grandmother wore a black suit, a hat with the veil pushed up and black pumps. She also chose short white gloves. Dad wore a sport coat. We were not overdressed — really blended in with the crowd! A fun surprise was eating next to Rosemary Clooney and Jose Ferrer with their children at the Chicken of the Sea Restaurant. A terrific day...

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments to essentialcalifornia@latimes.com.


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