UCSF Takes Action to Offset Student Tuition Fee Hikes

By Kevin Eisenmann on August 18, 2011

UCSF students on financial aid can breathe easier after University officials identified nearly $2 million to offset the recent statewide tuition hikes.

The UC Board of Regents on July 14 approved a 9.6 percent tuition increase that, together with a previously approved 8 percent hike, will cover approximately a quarter of the $1 billion shortfall resulting from a state funding cut of $650 million and more than $350 million in additional mandatory costs. That brings the total tuition increase to $1,068 per UCSF student for the 2011-2012 academic year. 

UCSF student fee chart

This student fee schedule for California residents shows that fees range from $38,982 in the School of Dentistry to $19,569 in the School of Nursing. For total fees per school, go to the UCSF Office of the Registrar website

UC President Mark G. Yudof issued a letter [PDF] to students and parents about the tuition increases.

“UCSF strives to recruit and retain the most talented and diverse students,” said Joseph Castro, PhD, vice chancellor for Student Academic Affairs. “We recognize that the most recent tuition increase will create a hardship for many of our students, especially those who are struggling financially during this economic downturn, so we have secured funds to help offset some of those costs.”

In an effort to alleviate the burden of rising fees, UCSF has increased financial support 4 percent since 2009, while grant and fellowship funds have increased 7 percent. Private support for education at UCSF, including for student aid, increased by 29 percent, to $26 million, according to Castro.

However, increasingly prospective students are being offered more financial aid from private institutions as well as guarantees that costs will not rise over their years in medical school.

And while UCSF remains one of the most diverse medical schools in the UC system and the most diverse public medical school in the state, progress on achieving a diverse student body has been slowed by steadily rising costs and intense national competition for such students. In fact, a recent survey by the UCSF School of Medicine of admitted students who enrolled elsewhere found more than 60 percentof underrepresented students said that insufficient financial support was the primary reason for their decision not to choose UCSF.

Projected UCSF student debt chart

"I think it's great that UCSF is able to help the students who are most affected by the tuition increase," said Frank Anthony Myers, Jr., a second-year student in the School of Medicine. "Attending medical school is already a challenge without additional financial burdens."

“The UC system is very special to me and I know that many other students feel the same but the tuition increases and budget cuts hurt,” said Josh Biddle, a UCSF medical student and president of the Associated Students of the University of California. “I appreciate that UCSF has found a way to cover the current tuition increase for those of us who receive full financial aid, and I hope that they will continue to stand with us as we fight for the excellent and affordable education that has always been the hallmark of the UC system."

The funds will cover the total tuition increase for any students eligible for full financial aid funding. Approximately 70 percent of the University’s 1,500 professional students qualify, according to Castro. Tuition offsets are coming from a number of sources across campus, including financial aid funds that had been set aside in anticipation of an expected mid-year fee increase, in January, that did not occur, he said.

Additionally, the Graduate Division will be covering the increase in tuition for all graduate students receiving fellowship support as well as any graduate student who is eligible for full financial aid funding.

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, has cited increases in student fees as the principal factor in UCSF’s decision to launch its first comprehensive fundraising effort in support of education, according to John Plotts, senior vice chancellor of Finance and Administration.

The chancellor and her husband, Nicholas Hellmann, MD, have helped kick off this philanthropic effort with a $1 million challenge gift, providing $250,000 matches for each of UCSF's four professional schools, Plotts said in a July 14 email the UCSF community. As the schools secure matching donors, this will create four separate $500,000 chancellor’s endowed scholarship funds — the first of their kind at UCSF. Details of the educational fundraising initiative will be forthcoming this fall.