The professional degree supplemental tuition (PDST) levels are scheduled to take effect Aug. 1, 2013. Although PDST levels traditionally are set in November for the upcoming academic year, the regents delayed voting in 2012 to allow for further review requested by Gov. Jerry Brown. Of UC's 57 professional programs with existing PDSTs, now only the four nursing master's degree programs are recommended for a PDST increase — an increase of $619 per year.
"Professional programs throughout the university submit a comprehensive multi-year plan that includes uses of and justification for PDST revenue, financial aid strategies, and the views of students and faculty," said UC Provost Aimée Dorr. "We have thoroughly evaluated all requests for PDST increases and believe that what we asked the regents to approve at the July 2012 meeting represents the minimum needed to ensure program quality and continuity."
In addition to the nursing programs at UC San Francisco, Los Angeles, Davis and Irvine, the four programs that will charge PDST for the first time are Games and Playable Media at Santa Cruz; Health Services-Physician Assistant Studies at Davis; Technology and Information Management at Santa Cruz; and Translational Medicine, a joint program to be offered by Berkeley and San Francisco. Three of the four are brand-new programs.
In setting PDST levels, program comparators include both public and private institutions. Of the programs included today, most are below the average cost of their competitors.
The nursing programs have been singled out for a PDST increase because after many years of keeping tuition levels artificially low — at the request of then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — program quality would be severely jeopardized without at least a minimum increase. Cuts in state and federal funding have taken their toll and the university believes it is essential to offer a high-quality program to benefit students and serve well the needs of the state of California.
Each of the 61 UC professional programs that charge PDST has committed to channeling at least a third of all PDST revenue into student financial aid; many programs anticipate exceeding this percentage. The average is nearly 36 percent.
PDSTs are only for professional degree students, not for academic graduate students.
At UC and other universities, the funding model for professional schools is based on a different model than that for undergraduate education, due both to the nature of the training provided and to policy decisions of prior state governments. Gov. Schwarzenegger, for example, believed that while the state had an obligation to fund undergraduate education, the professional schools should be the responsibility of the individual students.
This model is the standard approach nationally to professional school funding: While citizens and governments accept the role of government in providing access to undergraduate education, there is more of an expectation that students should bear primary responsibility for professional education. The exception, during the Schwarzenegger administration, was the nursing programs. The administration asked UC to expand the nursing program and keep fees artificially low, in exchange for promised state and federal funding that, in fact, did not materialize.