UC Riverside students propose a way to lower tuition

Melissa Simon

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A group of UC Riverside students proposed a new tuition plan to their regents Jan. 18 as a way to counter rising tuition costs.

Fix UC, an organization composed of 13 students that are looking for a way to lessen the impact of tuition, has a plan that would essentially defer tuition payments until students have graduated.

Fix UC’s president Chris LoCascio explained their course of action.

“The UC Student Investment Proposal is a fundamental overhaul of the University of California’s funding model,” said LoCascio, 20. “It completely eliminates up-front tuition, including the need for student loans and provides the system with the revenue it needs to educate and grow. Once students graduate and enter a career, they pay a small percentage of their income, based on 5 percent, to the university for 20 years.”

LoCascio and Fix UC came up with the plan because UC Riverside’s newspaper was continuously publishing editorials on the state and UC budget crises. These editorials covered the discontent of the continuous short-term fixes and tuition hikes.

“We worked tirelessly for nine months to come up with a proposal that would solve the UC’s root problems while addressing the needs of the students,” LoCascio said.

LoCascio and his team consulted administrators, faculty members and students across the UC system. Graduate students will only have to pay a stable fraction of the amount they make — meaning no loans and debt, according to Fix UC’s official website.

“A great deal of students are graduating with a black cloud of debt hanging over their heads,” LoCascio said. “The prospect of a system that does away with having to take out massive student loans that accrue interest and charge you whether you are working or not has appealed to many students.”

“We always welcome constructive ideas in the cycle of increasing tuition costs, and these students put serious effort into their proposal,” said Steve Montiel, media relations director for the UC office of the president. “It could be an innovative answer.”

Melissa Perez, a CSUN junior child and adolescent development major, is not completely on board with the idea of a payment plan.

“At first, it seems like a really easy solution, but after thinking about it for a while I started to realize that there are some flaws,” Perez said.

One part of the plan that Perez has an issue with is the way the payments would be charged to different students for the same program. A person that makes more will end up paying more, while those that make less will pay less. Basically, what a person makes in one year is what they will end up paying for their education.

There also could actually be several problems should this proposal be implemented at the CSU level, according to Dr. Henrik Minassians, director of public services for CSUN.

“It takes away your buying power into the future so you might withhold other purchases because you have this bill for 20 years,” Minassians said. “(This) might discourage you from working harder and earning more because the amount is not fixed and increases as you earn more. I prefer, as a consumer, the loan system because overtime money would loose its value due to inflation.”

LoCascio said that the UC and CSU levels have different funding and organization models, but it would be possible for the same plan to work.

“I have had initial discussions about applying the concepts in Fix UC’s proposal to the CSU but I haven’t looked into it in depth,” LoCascio said. “I would anticipate at least a few new obstacles to overcome in order to make it work but none that put it out of the realm of reality.”