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U.C. headquarters: fee hikes “painful” but there’s help

on November 20, 2009

The University of California’s Office of the President sent out a statement yesterday, as student fee hike protests mounted, calling the increases “painful” and arguing that financial aid and other new forms of support will ease the impact next year on many students and their families.

In the announcement, the Office of the President said it “recognizes the need to focus fundraising efforts more sharply on student support.”   Here’s a summary of the statement’s main points:

There’ll be additional help for low and middle income students, including an expansion of the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which covers fees and tuition expenses for eligible students; fundraising $1 billion from private investors over the next four years; allocating to financial aid some of the money generated from the fee increases; and increasing financial aid and tax credits.

As of the 2010-11 academic year, in-state undergraduates with family incomes up to $70,000 and receiving financial aid will “receive gift assistance that will, at minimum, cover all their mandatory system wide fees.”  The Office of the President predicts the plan will provide complete fee coverage for an additional 800 students currently ineligible and cost $2.7 million.   The system is currently seeking ways to fund the additional costs, the statement said.

Thirty-three percent of the money gained from the undergraduate fee increases will be used to “mitigate the impact” of the increased costs for these students in financial need. The same percentage will be set aside for graduate professional degree students in need. Half the graduate academic student fees will be similarly set aside.

The University said it anticipates the fee increases, coupled with increased UC grants and Cal Grants typically available for students with family incomes below $70,000, will cover the new costs for the 45 percent of students who benefit from these programs.

Students with financial need whose parents make $120,000 or less will have half their fee increases covered, the statement declared; and tax credits plus financial aid should cover the fee increases for 75 percent of students with family incomes below $180,000.

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