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University of California Confronts Budget Shortfall

SAN FRANCISCO – The University of California’s Board of Regents Wednesday weighed a possible tuition increase to close a major budget shortfall and named a new chancellor for UC San Diego Wednesday.

UC officials took no action after discussing ways to tackle a growing budget deficit caused by rising expenses and state budget cuts. During the current fiscal year, the state reduced UC funding by $750 million, or roughly 20 percent.

Under one scenario, the 10-campus system would raise tuition by 6 percent, or $731, this fall if the state doesn’t increase funding by $125 million for 2012-13. The board would not vote on a tuition increase until July, and the amount could change based on the state budget situation, officials said.

If tuition increases by 6 percent, in-state undergraduates would pay $12,923, nearly double what students paid five years ago.

Administrators say UC would need to consider a much steeper tuition hike if voters reject Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative on the November ballot. Under the governor’s budget plan released Monday, state funding for the UC system would remain flat if the measure passes but drop by $250 million if it fails.

The regents held the bimonthly meeting in Sacramento so they could lobby lawmakers to increase UC funding, preserve grants for low-income students and support legislation to help middle-class students attend college.

The meeting was briefly disrupted when more than a dozen student protesters began chanting and clapping hands. The regents left the room and held closed sessions before returning for the public portion of the meeting two hours later.

In other action, the board named Pradeep Khosla, dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering, to succeed Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, who is stepping down Aug. 1 after eight years leading UC San Diego.

The board approved Khosla’s appointment and compensation package about two weeks after President Mark Yudof nominated him to be the eighth chancellor of the campus. Khosla’s annual salary will be $411,084, which is 4.8 percent more than Fox’s annual pay of $392,200. The $18,884 difference will be covered by non-state funding sources, UC officials said

Fox’s salary did not increased for nearly five years, and Khosla’s starting salary is less than what he’s currently paid at the private university in Pittsburgh, officials said.

UC will provide Khosla a house near campus, an annual auto allowance of $8,916 and pay more than $100,000 in relocation expenses.

Khosla was raised in Bombay and attended the Indian Institute of Technology before earning a master’s degree and doctorate in electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon. He is married with three children.

Associated Press Writer Juliet Williams contributed to this report from Sacramento.

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