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Students’ clever plan would eliminate tuition

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What if students at California’s public universities didn’t pay any tuition? Zilch. Nada.

Instead, what if they paid for their education after they graduated, by pledging a fixed percentage of their income toward their education costs?

A group of UC Riverside students floated a proposal at Wednesday’s University of California regents meeting to do away with tuition and phase in a new way of paying for public education.

Wow.

The students got the attention of UC President Mark Yudof, who called the plan a “constructive idea,” and told the students the system would give their plan “a close look.”

The numbers presented by the students show the proposal could actually be a windfall for the UC system, where revenue could triple over the next 20 years to $4.6 billion.

Under the students’ plan, five percent of post-collegiate income for 20 years would go toward paying for school. At an annual income of $50,000 a year — around the salary of the average UC graduate — workers would pay $2,500 each year toward their education, or about $50,000 over the full 20 years.

Tuition in the UC system is currently about $12,000 a year, which doesn’t include other costs of going to school, like fees, room, board, books, beer, pizza, drugs and bail.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as assistant professor at San Francisco State University.

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