By Nick Cahill
Responding to a booming economy and a generous state budget, administrators on Thursday approved the first tuition decrease for the University of California system in nearly 20 years.
Students will get a bit of relief on their 2018-19 tuition after UC regents agreed to drop a longstanding $60 fee that went toward paying off a pair of class action lawsuits. The surcharge has been in place since 2007 but the regents estimate that lawsuit damages will have been fully covered by the fall.
The university’s last tuition drop was during the 1999-2000 school year.
UC students celebrated the news, including student regent Devon Graves.
“This is unreal! Congratulations to all of the students-you earned this win!” Graves tweeted after voting for the reduction.
Regents unanimously approved a nearly $9 billion systemwide budget that will reduce tuition and student fees to $12,570 annually. For comparison, undergraduate tuition was $9,496 in 2008-09.
Administrators had been mulling a proposed $342 tuition hike before relenting to Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers during budget negotiations.
Taking advantage of an estimated $9 billion surplus, Brown last month increased the university’s funding by 2.9 percent in the statewide budget, including $248 million in one-time funding. Brown’s final budget also included $35 million toward the university’s deferred maintenance.
The tuition decrease coincides with a spike in admissions at the world-renowned UC system.
Officials say they have offered over 137,000 students a spot at one of nine undergraduate campuses this fall, most in history. Asian made up the largest ethnic group of admitted students at 36 percent, followed by Latinos at 33 percent, whites at 22 percent and African-Americans at 5 percent.
UC officials hope the high admissions totals will result in record-high total enrollment.
“The data we have available today give us great confidence in predicting that our actual fall enrollment will exceed our goal. We are gratified that so many of these top-notch, motivated students are eager to attend UC,” UC vice president for student affairs Robin Holmes-Sullivan said in a statement.