KHUDYAKOV: Raising UC tuition won’t solve the problem




Truth: the cost of education is rising. Another truth: it’s not just our sanity that’s at risk. Our wallets (or our parents’ wallets or the wallets of our wealthy step-aunt on our mother’s side, depending on who you ask) have long been in danger of being emptied due to tuition costs.

This sentiment is true for both public and private schools. Chief among them are the UCs, of course, whose current cost of tuition for the 2019-2020 school year is held at $12,570, and may soon be on the rise. 

In a misguided effort to increase funding, the UCs have proposed multiple plans that lead to increased tuition costs. The first accounts for inflation by annually raising fees for students. Thus, it seems that in-state students (whose parents pay expensive California taxes for access to resources like the UC system, hint hint) are going to have to take another good, long look at the state of their bank accounts before wading into the UC system.

Of course, out-of-state tuition costs are also rising, but this sudden price hike suggests that UCs plan to continue their unspoken habit of accepting unreasonably large numbers of out-of-state-students (because their good candidates, but mostly because they can squeeze more money out of them). Meanwhile, in-states will have to contend with wallowing in their broken dreams.

Meanwhile, the second plan suggests increasing tuition for an incoming class before simply freezing tuition costs for the next six years. Under this plan, undergraduates will pay a fixed rate for the cost of their schooling. 

Although both my wallet and I would appreciate the idea of a fixed tuition rate for the next four years of my education, I do extend my deepest sympathies to the class of 2024 and below, as this plan guarantees that their tuition will be even more expensive. (Anyway, why are we forcing younger students to bear the brunt of this plan? Sure, I understand why underclassmen are commonly disliked, but I don’t see the need to hammer the point in by chipping away at their bank accounts).

We act like these price hikes aren’t significant, and if they are carefully controlled through either of these plans, then students and their families can plan ahead for the future. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Refusing to take into account the cost of living and other educational fees is doing students everywhere a major disservice.

Educators are neglecting budgetary constraints that millions of students and their families will have to consider. 

Nonetheless, this entire system is nothing if not a band aid solution. Neither of these plans address the real problem at hand: the lack of funding available for public education, as well as the  . Putting these plans into place still signifies the fact that the onus of paying for our education lays in our hands. Students and their families are expected to just grin and bear the exorbitant fees in order to get a UC education and a degree.

Instead of attempting to solve the problem,. Or encouraging the state to give these institutions more funding, educators are placing the costs entirely in the hands of hapless families, many of whom can’t afford the cost of a college education as-is. 

I’m willing to concede that private universities can do whatever they want with their tuition rates, but putting the responsibility in students’ hands for paying the cost of an increasingly expensive university degree is unreasonable, considering we are talking about a public school system. 

These plans were drawn up as a means to offer students additional support and a ‘tuition roadmap’ yet they avoid finding any permanent solutions to the problems public universities are facing. It’s like handing someone a malfunctioning GPS: we’re really not going anywhere.