The University of California has decided to delay the implementation of an increase in tuition fees, the latest move made by UC President Janet Napolitano in an ongoing dispute with state Democrats, including Governor Jerry Brown.
The tuition fee increase delay was announced by Napolitano even as a committee composed of lawmakers, most of which are against the tuition fee increase, organized an assembly in Sacramento regarding the budget of the university.
"Because these discussions are still ongoing, and because the legislature is still at work putting together the state budget, I am announcing here today that UC will not implement a previously approved tuition increase of up to 5 percent for the summer quarter," said Napolitano.
Napolitano added that the decision to delay the tuition fee hike is a gesture of good faith, as the university will remain optimistic that the negotiations will lead to a fruitful conclusion.
Napolitano also said that she hopes UC will be able to prevent any similar tuition fee increases in the next academic year.
Last year, the UC President received the approval of the UC Board of Regents to increase tuition fees across the 10 campuses of the university by 5 percent per year over the coming five years, unless California sets aside double the budget that Brown had initially planned for the university.
The approved tuition fee hike angered Brown, who said that he will only increase the funding for the university if tuition fees remained stable. Brown added that UC should find ways to save money before looking to raise its tuition fees.
The spending plan proposed by the governor entailed a $120 million increase in the budget of the university, with the condition that there will be no increase in tuition fees. Officials of UC, however, said that the increase was not enough.
On Feb. 18, a State Assembly budget subcommittee began hearings on the funding for UC next year. However, the hearings have taken a hardball approach, as instead of using the budget of the university last year as a baseline, the lawmakers have used the "zero base budgeting" approach wherein every dollar to be added to the budget should have an accompanying argument to be included.
Toni Atkins, the Assembly Speaker, has been gaining support from both Republicans and Democrats to raise UC's funding if the tuition fees remain stable.
Atkins said that she expected to identify some areas where the university could trim expenses from its budget.
"I am pleased President Napolitano is beginning to walk back UC's reliance on fee increases," said Atkins, who promised a "top-to-bottom review of UC's budget."