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UC President Napolitano calls for tuition freeze and more transfers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Presiding over her first regents meeting, new UC system President Janet Napolitano proposed Wednesday that tuition be frozen again next year and that a new focus should be placed on boosting the number of community college students who transfer to the university.

Napolitano, the former Secretary of Homeland Security, also said she wanted the 10-campus university to explore ways to minimize future student fee increases beyond the 2014-15 school year.

“I want tuition to be as low as possible, and I want it to be as predictable as possible,” she said at a regents meeting in San Francisco.

After a decade that saw tuition triple as a result of state budget cuts, UC's annual  undergraduate tuition has remained at $12,192 for the last two years. That does not include room, board and campus fees, which can add another $16,000. Graduate and professional school students pay an array of higher fees.

Financial aid and tax credits cover full tuition for half of UC undergraduates and another 20% receive some partial aid, with the average paying about half of tuition, according to Napolitano.

She and others note that UC will be able to stabilize tuition for the third year in a row mainly because of the extra state revenues provided by tax increases approved by voters last year under Proposition 30. Gov. Jerry Brown, who attended Wednesday’s regents meeting, has proposed a state budget that presumes no tuition increases at the state’s public universities.

However, some officials say the tuition freeze proposal might not survive if the final state budget approved next spring does not include enough money for UC. The UC regents are scheduled to vote on their 2014-15 spending and tuition plan on Thursday but could revise it in later months.

Napolitano also appointed a task force to study boosting community college transfers by possibly recruiting more at community colleges that send relatively low numbers to UC and by streamlining the transfer process.


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