UC Berkeley News
Web Feature

UC Berkeley Web Feature

Regents hear update on UC financial aid

– Acknowledging the challenges of paying for college, UC Provost M.R.C. Greenwood told the Board of Regents at UCLA on March 16 that the University of California's financial aid policies nevertheless are working to help keep the university affordable to students and parents of all financial backgrounds.

"Financing a university education is neither easy nor simple," Greenwood told the regents. But, she added, "most students who borrow graduate with manageable debt, most students are working manageable hours, and low-income students are both enrolling in large numbers and graduating."

In UC's financial aid model, parents are expected to contribute to their children's education at varying levels according to income, and students are expected to work and/or borrow as well — but at levels that do not impede their academic progress or leave them with unmanageable debt upon graduation. Federal, state, and UC grants are intended to cover the remaining balance between available resources and the cost of attending the university.

Greenwood reported that many UC students — 26 percent of those with family incomes of under $42,000, and 40 percent of those with family incomes between $42,000 and $84,000 — graduate with no debt at all. At all income levels, fewer than 4 percent of graduating students have debt repayments that are above the university's standard of manageability, which is between 5 percent and 9 percent of starting salary upon graduation.

Between 13 percent and 18 percent of UC students, depending on family income level, work more than the university's standard of manageability, which is between six and 20 hours of work per week plus full-time in the summer. At the other end of the scale, between 38 percent and 50 percent of students, depending on family income level, do not hold jobs at all while in college.

Greenwood pointed out that UC campuses are national leaders in the proportion of students who are low-income Pell Grant recipients. She also reported that UC students of all income groups, including low- and middle-income students, graduate at a higher rate than the national average for major research universities.

Members of the Board of Regents urged the university to continue monitoring the availability of financial aid, particularly for those students who have work or borrowing levels that are above the levels traditionally considered to be manageable.

"The Master Plan said every qualified student should have a place at the university, and that should continue to be our goal," regent Sherry Lansing said.

UC mandatory systemwide student fees in 2005-06 total $6,141 for resident undergraduates. The average annual budget for a resident undergraduate, including on-campus room and board, campus-based fees, books, transportation, health insurance and personal costs, is roughly $22,100.

More information on UC's financial aid program, and profiles of how UC students are paying for college, is available online.