The University of California (UC) system is aiming to freeze tuition costs for a third straight year after more than a decade of rapidly escalating costs.
UC President Janet Napolitano, the former Homeland Security secretary who before that served as Arizona’s governor, told regents at a meeting Wednesday in San Francisco that she is exploring ways to limit fee increases beyond 2014-15.
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“I want tuition to be as low as possible and I want it to be as predictable as possible," she said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
UC fees have skyrocketed over the years, rising from $3,429 in 2000-01 to $12,192 in 2011-12, according to the UC’s office of the president. Fees have remained at that price ever since, but room, board, and campus fees can tack on an additional $16,000 annually.
Between 2008 and 2011, fees rose by more than 71 percent. But voters in California last year approved Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative that boosted educational funding.
Napolitano was “very hopeful” that her proposal to freeze tuition would be implemented, adding that UC would continue to look for cost-cutting efficiencies.
The UC Davis Aggie reported that Napolitano
plans to form a “strike team” to boost transfer rates from the state’s community colleges to UC campuses, while also finding ways to boost innovations in research.
“If we get tuition right, if we get access for transfers right, if we invest in our own research and change the game on energy consumption, then UC will demonstrate to the nation, and beyond, the fundamental and unique value of a world-class public research university,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano is the first woman to lead the 10-campus UC system
, long regarded as one of the top U.S. public universities. She was appointed in July to replace Mark Yudoff, who spent much of his administration trying to cope with annual budget cuts. She earns a reported salary of $570,000 annually.
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