UC seeks to ensure that financial considerations are not an obstacle to eligible students who seek to complete a University degree. Its student financial aid program is designed with this goal in view.
UC closely monitors the impact of its pricing decisions and its financial aid program with a variety of affordability indicators. For example, it routinely assesses the cost of attending UC for families at different income levels. It also monitors the enrollment of low- and middle-income students, how much students need to work during a term and how much money they borrow to pay for their education.
The indicators in this section show that the University remains accessible to students from all income groups, despite the increases in student tuition and fees that are forced on the University by the withdrawal of state funding. Despite continuing upward pressure on student tuition and fees, the proportion of lower-income students enrolled in UC grew in 2010. Due to the availability of student financial aid programs, the inflation-adjusted net cost paid by low-income students for their University education has declined since 2004-05.
Meanwhile, the inflation-adjusted net cost for lower middle-income students has been flat during the last five years, but the cost for upper-middle income and wealthier students has risen substantially. The balance of students from low- middle-, and high-income families has changed during the past decade, with the largest decline in the proportion of upper-middle-income students. This chapter offers some explanations.
UC's commitment to affordability is especially important at a time when the University is forced by the withdrawal of state support to raise student tuition and fees. Evidence of that commitment is the University's Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan1, which ensures that needy students with household incomes below a threshold level receive gift aid to cover their tuition and fees. For 2011-12, the threshold was raised to $80,000; the threshold was set at $70,000 in 2010-11 and $60,000 in 2009-10. Additionally, in 2011-12, UC will provide a grant to fully cover the cost of the 8 percent 2011-12 tuition increase for students with need from families earning incomes up to $120,000. The University also has started raising donations for Project You Can, a fundraising initiative that aims to raise $1 billion in private support during the next four years for student aid.
The indicators in this chapter provide important baseline measures that will help the University assess the impact of these programs and of tuition increases.
For more information
More information about UC costs and financial aid, including links to financial aid estimators provided by each campus, is available online.
Detailed information about trends in UC financial aid can also be found in the University's Annual Report on Student Financial Support (pdf).
1 More information about the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, including details on eligibility criteria, can be found online.