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UC considers varying tuitions at 10 campuses

May 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Officials at the University of California, which operates 10 different schools all over the state, are considering a plan to charge higher tuition at so-called elite campuses.

Flexible tuition would allow each individual campus to set its own tuition rates. It's the law of supply and demand - the schools that are popular would charge more, while others could lower tuition.

"It's way better for us, but I guess it's kind of like making us feel like less to their standards," said Ariana Contreras, a UC Riverside student.

Such a plan would make UCLA and Berkeley more expensive than some other UC schools.

"UCLA is of course older, has a name, maybe more prestige to it, but charging more, I don't think, would be the right thing," said Suzanne Dakkak, a UCLA student.

Right now, tuition at UC schools is about $11,000 a year. With this idea, the more popular schools could charge higher tuition - possibly 25 percent more.

The Syal family was at UCLA for tour on Monday. Jai Syal is a transfer student planning to start in the fall, and his parents said they would pay the extra tuition.

"Education is not figures and dollars. It's definitely an investment in my future," Jai Syal said.

Supporters of the idea say even though some schools charge more, all schools could share the extra money. But critics say it could form a two-tier education system.

"I don't think we should favor any one school over the other," said Jacob Garcia, a student at UC Riverside. "If we're all trying to get an education, than it should all be equal."

The UC Regents said with the state budget crisis, all issues are on the table, but they stressed that the plan has not yet been proposed or formalized just yet.