Ted Chen and Dennis Lahti
Some creative UC Riverside students want to overhaul the way tuition is paid. But lawmakers aren't ready for anything quite so dramatic
Students have been protesting University of California tuition increases for the past few years. But now, students at UC Riverside have come up with a new way to pay. And the idea is gaining popularity, at least on campuses across the state.
"While I've been a student, tuition has gone up exponentially, " says Chris Locascio.
Locascio is editor-in-chief of the UC Riverside student newspaper. He says college has gotten so expensive, students shouldn't have to pay anything while they're in school.
Locascio is spearheading a proposal that would eliminate tuition, financial aid and student loans. Instead, UC graduates would pay 5 percent of their pay after they get a job. That deduction would continue for 20 years.
"Charging students at a time in their life when they're not making any money just doesn't make any sense," says Locascio. "It's the way things have always been done, but that doesn't mean it has to be that way in the future."
Graduates who work in California would pay half-a-percent less than those who work outside the state. Those who work for the government would pay a percentage point less.
Could the plan be enforced? Payment would be regulated by an office similar to the state tax board and graduates would not be required to pay interest.
Two members of UCLA's student government said they appreciate the idea. But they say, the real focus should be on increased state funding.
"We can't just push back when you pay because you're still paying too much money," said UCLA student Joelle Gamble.
"I'm an undocumented student," said Ernesto Zumaya, who also attends UCLA. "So I don't really understand the policy of how we'd be able to pay for that money after we graduate."
Republican State Assemblyman Don Wagner, whose district includes UC Irvine, says there's a reason why it sounds too good to be true.
"Reluctantly and regrettably I think this is probably something that doesn't fly," said Wagner.
Regardless, the UC Riverside students say they are determined to take their plan to UC Regents at their next meeting.