Office of the Chancellor

Proposed UC Long-Term Stability Plan

Nov. 17, 2014

Dear Colleagues: 

This week the University of California Regents will consider a Long-Term Stability Plan for the University of California. If adopted, the five-year plan would provide sustainable funding to enroll an additional 5,000 California residents, enhance academic quality and student support services, and maintain a robust financial aid program. The plan would authorize the president to approve modest tuition increases of no more than 5 percent per year, but those increases could be lowered – or eliminated – if the state provides additional funds beyond the 1.7 percent increases to the UC budget that are part of the governor’s current plan. 

The proposal by UC President Janet Napolitano maintains the high quality and affordability of a UC education against dramatic declines in state support. Those who thought that Proposition 30 meant that the UC had already received generous new funds from the state are often surprised to learn that the system has received only 5 percent of the funds that the temporary measure has generated so far. The University of California still receives $460 million less in state funding this year than it did in 2007, while serving more students than ever – including thousands of additional California residents for whom the state has provided no support. 

Tuition should be as low and predictable as possible. By committing to a ceiling on tuition increases, this plan allows students and their families to know the cost of a UC education, how much financial aid they can expect, and what their tuition dollars will buy. It ends a pattern, replayed too many times over the past few decades, of crisis-generated tuition increases of 30 or 40 percent. The plan also allows the public and our representatives to see, in a concrete way, how modest new investments by the state will impact the cost of a UC education, as well as the ability of the UC system to provide access to more California residents. 

Most importantly, at UCI this plan allows us to maintain our strong focus on the well-being of our undergraduate, graduate, and professional students by providing them an outstanding learning environment and a support system that empowers them to succeed at the highest levels. We attract an extraordinary student body, and we have an unshakeable commitment to providing an educational experience that does justice to their talent and ambitions. 

We spent last week meeting with student leaders, connecting this plan to their aspirations for our campus. More than half of our students are the first in their families to attend college (as I was); many could never afford an advanced education without our scholarship program for low-income families. No one wants to see any tuition increase, and we all hope that can still be avoided. But if there are increases it should be clear to students how they will benefit. 

In our meetings with student leaders we have discussed how, by hiring additional faculty, we will be able to add course offerings and discussion sessions, reduce the size of some upper-division courses, and provide more personalized instruction through independent study and undergraduate research projects. Student life would be enhanced through greater access to mental health providers, study space, tutorial help, academic counseling, and professional development services. 

I highlight these outcomes so there can be no ambiguity: this plan benefits our students. 

And these benefits reverberate throughout our region and our world. Today’s Anteaters become tomorrow’s leaders, educators, artists, and discoverers. Their faculty teachers and mentors come to our community as leaders in their fields, the best in the world. These wonderful and talented people – tens of thousands of them – enrich Orange County in countless ways. 

We hope that the state will reinvest in the UC system. In the meantime the long-term stability plan will ensure that our students continue to receive the very best education. And as we move forward – forging those new partnerships that will further enhance the quality and impact of our work – I am committed to ensuring UCI will play an even more vital role in our region’s ongoing development as an international center of excellence in education, research, arts, innovation, sustainability, and economic growth. 

Chancellor Howard Gillman