California university leaders are warily watching a tuition freeze plan that would cost the schools -- and students -- dearly if voters reject November's state tax initiative.
Legislators were scheduled late Tuesday to debate the proposal, which would give $125 million each to the University of California and California State University systems in 2013. But the universities would lose that money if they raise tuition for the 2012-13 school year or if the tax initiative fails.
The schools' quandary: freeze tuition this year and hope for the best or raise tuition and say goodbye to the state money. The 23-campus Cal State system has already raised tuition more than 9 percent for the fall term and has collected the money from thousands of students. The UC system is due to make a tuition decision in July.
The Legislature's plan would do little to help the Cal State system in any event. Cal State's tuition hike would bring it $132 million next year, spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp said Tuesday, so the legislative proposal would not give the university enough to make up the difference. The tuition freeze would save Cal State students about $500 next year but could lead to delayed costs.