In Governor Brown's new budget proposal this week, UC and CSU are each slated to get a $250-million boost in funding in the next fiscal year.
Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles), who is also a UC regent, fired a warning shot, saying that better be enough, and he threatened to re-think UC's future funding if there's any mention of tuition hikes.
"So they have to act in their own long-term interest in understanding that there is an absolute expectation that there be no fee increases," said Perez.
Governor Brown thinks aggressively expanding online courses and making faculty teach a heavier load will help stretch the budget. He even wants to tie funding to graduation rates to move students through faster.
"The people in the university are going to have to find a way to do the same thing with fewer growing resources then they're historically used to," said Brown.
UC administrators, though, wanted $400 million. They say the proposed $250 million increase initially looks like tuition hikes can be avoided, but won't guarantee it just yet.
"It's too early to say anything definitive," said UC spokesman Steve Montiel. "But certainly there's a commitment among the administration here to do everything possible to keep tuition at the same level it is now for next year."
Students are frustrated because getting a degree is getting more expensive. They thought the voter-approved tax hikes in Proposition 30 were supposed to help slow the skyrocketing costs. But in a letter from UC Chancellor Linda Katehi to her campus, she said the passage of Prop. 30 " ... assures our students will not face mid-year tuition increases ..." -- but no mention about the extra money stopping tuition increases next year.
UC is technically independent of the governor and the legislature and can't be told what to do. That's why Gov. Brown is expected to attend next week's UC regents meeting to firmly plead for no tuition hikes.