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UC pension costs could lead to program cuts, tuition hikes

The CalPERS office in Sacramento is seen in this undated photo.

June 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The University of California is facing mounting pressure to cut programs and raise tuition again. This time, it is due to the rising costs for pensions and retiree health benefits.

A new report shows the 10-campus system is dealing with mounting bills for retirees as it grapples with unprecedented cuts in state funding.

More than 2,100 of the 56,000 retirees are drawing pensions of more than $100,000. The UC Retirement Plan's huge deficit was created by investment losses during the global economic crisis - and the nearly two decades when campuses, employees and the state did not contribute any money toward pensions.

While UC seeks to pay its retirement bills, the system is wrestling with the loss of $750 million in state funding this past year. And it could lose another $250 million in the coming academic year if voters reject Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative in November. The cuts have already led to sharp tuition hikes, staff reductions and angry student protests.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.