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UC tuition increase may force COS students to look at other transfer options

Dominic Duarte, Reporter

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Transferring to a UC may not be an option for some COS students now that UC tuitions have increased. The increase would add $348 to the current tuition of $12,630 for California students.

“What is interesting to me is that this is the first time in 6 years, where they did not increase tuition,” said Juan Vasquez, Director of Student Success.

Vasquez said that the increase may change options for students in where they want to attend and live. Along with the increase, cost of attendance will rise as well. This information assists Vasquez in helping students decide which schools are available for transfer, as well as the right fit financially. For students, this information brings to light that they may not afford attending a UC school. Students relying on financial aid will be covered in tuition, but other fees will make dents in students’ pockets.

“When students say ‘financial aid’ I tell them it is just not free money, financial aid are loans,” said Meng Vang, a COS general counselor.

Vang conveyed the realities of UC and Cal State schools for transfer students. The truth of living expenses and transportation fall in line with paying tuition. Vang said some students are not cognizant of the amount they take out in loans. A student may deter from choosing a UC and owing this much on loans and instead of go to another school and owe less. Vang wants students to consider they can either finish college with a large debt, or start a life with less worry on loans.

“There is a percent of students who are getting help with that tuition, and that is a big chunk, but there is still housing to consider,” said David Loverin, Director of Financial Aid.

Vang said with Tulare County being one of the poorest counties in the state, the increase may impact COS students wanting to transfer to a UC the most. Students may choose a CSU in hopes of being more cost effective. A student’s major may not be exclusive to a UC.

Vang and Vasquez both agree, it is up to students to do their research and know if they can afford to attend the schools of their choice.

“I always lay out the options to students. At the end of the day, it is the student’s option. Most students should choose a school that has their major,” Vang said.

Vasquez said costs of housing and living expenses catch students off guard due to being close to the coast. Vasquez tries to convey the bigger picture on students that college may not be affordable, which may come as a surprise for students from the Central Valley. Further research brings about better options to students and families, and helps them understand which schools can be both a financial and educational fit. However, UC colleges have their own budgeting systems to keep in mind.

“UC had a large fund balance or savings,” said Loverin. “They had been setting money aside and I don’t think they had been disclosing that they had.”

Most college institutions will have a fund balance in their budget. Budgets are always set, but never give enough to keep facilities in top notch shape. The state gives the budget based on the amount of enrollment each college has. To Loverin’s understanding, Governor Jerry Brown did not agree with that action. He claimed the governor would lower the Cal Grant for UCs, and increase community college’s grants and the state’s. The budget will come out right, but will never give enough to keep facilities in top notch shape.

Outside tuition, students have many fees to pay as well. Lavern said that Cal Grants A, B and C help ease those fees for middle class groups. Federal financial aid will cover some expenses, but Loverin hopes students will use the money to relieve the financial shortcomings they may face. He recommends students to do research on merit-based scholarships and grants if financial aid is not there. With an increase in financial aid, more prominent action is advised for students looking into UC and CSU institutions.

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UC tuition increase may force COS students to look at other transfer options