How much has tuition for California’s public universities really increased over the last 22 years?

Using data from the California State University Budget Office and University of California Budget Office, KQED has charted average tuition and campus fees for resident undergraduates, adjusted for inflation.

The numbers show that students and/or their parents are paying three times more in 2014 than their 1992 counterparts. The figures do not include expenses such as room, board, books and class-specific extra fees.

The average UC student now leaves school $20,500 in debt and the average CSU student $18,460 in debt, according to analyses conducted by both systems.

University of California

Download the data (pdf)

California State University

Download the data (pdf)

On Thursday, the University of California’s Board of Regents voted 14-7 to approve tuition increases. The plan calls for increases up to 5 percent in each of the next five years for resident undergraduates.

Download the data (pdf)

This post originally appeared on July 18, 2012. It was updated on November 21, 2014.

Years are by academic year. The CSU fees are a combination of the IRA fee; health facilities fee; health services fee; student body fee; and materials, services and facilities fee. Some UC students also pay a professional fee, which we did not include as it varies greatly by department.

Chart: The Cost of Tuition at UC and CSU Over the Years, Adjusted for Inflation 21 November,2014Lisa Pickoff-White

  • Jane Superstar

    Consider revising this chart to go back just 5 more years–to 25 years–and you will find that the numbers are even scarier. I went to UCLA from 1988 to 1993. The tuition was $499 a quarter my first year and more than $1,200 a quarter my last year. That’s more than 100% increase in a five-year period.

    • Hal in San Mateo

      I agree with Jane. I’ve been thru two cycles of UC grad school, first in the 70s, then again from 1999-2004. Even more dramatic changes over that span. Boogabooga raises a valid point, though, in the national context, UC is still a really good deal. The biggest problem is related to the one of the public school system … not enough spent per student. I’m waiting for UC’s standing in the higher-ed world to start plumeting like the K-12 standing has, in terms of what is spent per student, and where our students wind up ranking in the world of 15-20 years from now.

  • Anonymous

    It would be enlightening to see how that compares with other states’ public universities. If I’m not mistaken, the sharp rise has pushed California from relatively cheap to middle-of-the-road — which changes the nature of the seeming crisis.

    • ManWithCommonSense

      Actually, you are incorrect. The CSU system is now generally costs more for our IN STATE students than many OUT OF STATE public Univeristies. THAT is a problem. On top of that, the State of California is FORCING Community College students to pay a “per unit fee” (which is really tuition) that is going up again. I do believe it is illegal to charge tuition at a California community college, however, the State is playing loose and fast with the rules (since the mid 1980’s) and I cannot believe no one has sued. The real problem? Prop 13. It should be repealed immediately and forever. All it does is keep incompetent old people in houses that they cannot afford to maintain, which is a danger to them. Most states went the opposite way as Prop 13 at the same time and THOSE are the places where unemployment is lower and so is State University tuition. DUH.

  • Another informative view would include the general fund appropriation per student over the same time frame. A significant decline that outpaced the increase in tuition and fees.

  • James Finstad

    When I attended UCLA from1962 to 1965, tuition (then called incidental fees) was $200 a year. Room and board was $100 a month. Anybody with the entrance requirements and a part-time job could afford to go to college. What has happened to our state and our country since then??? Surely, inflation does not account for the difference!

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