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Preliminary UC plan calls for no tuition hike next year

Preliminary UC plan calls for no tuition hike next year
University of California President Janet Napolitano after a recent meeting with UCLA students. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

For the third straight year, UC students would see no tuition increase for the 2014-15 school year if state funding to the 10-campus system increases enough, according to a preliminary University of California budget released Monday.

The budget proposal for next year said undergraduate tuition would remain at $12,192 before room, board and campus fees are added. Graduate and professional students pay more, and their basic fees would not rise either.

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But the commitment to freeze those fees may change if state revenue to UC does not increase by about $267 million, including extra money to help pay for pensions and to increase enrollment by about 1%, officials said.

The regents are scheduled to discuss the proposed budget at their meeting next week at UC San Francisco, which will be the first board session led by new UC system President Janet Napolitano.

The proposed budget, considered a first step in a complicated political process, represents one of Napolitano's first major initiatives at UC.

Gov. Jerry Brown has been a strong advocate of no tuition hikes at the state’s public universities, saying that voters deserve that after approving the tax increases in Proposition 30 last year.

Brown has promised rises in state funding for the UC and Cal State systems, but UC regents may not think those are sufficient by the time the Legislature acts on the final state budget by the summer.

Patrick J. Lenz, UC vice president of budget and capital resources, said Monday that UC would have to make spending cuts and look for other new revenue if the final state budget does not include large enough general fund increases. "Clearly, tuition could be one of those options," he said.

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