Imge: California protests
Noah Berger  /  AP
A police officer uses a baton to fend off protesters attempting to enter a University of California regents meeting on Wednesday in San Francisco.
updated 11/18/2010 2:30:20 PM ET 2010-11-18T19:30:20

A University of California committee approved a plan Thursday to raise student fees by 8 percent next fall while expanding financial aid to more students.

The vote by the UC Board of Regents' finance committee comes a day after a student protest left four police officers injured and more than a dozen demonstrators arrested. There were no protesters at Thursday's meeting.

Later in the day, the full board was expected to approve the tuition hike, which follows a 32 percent increase this year.

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In fall 2011, student fees for California residents would increase by $822 to more than $11,000. That doesn't include individual campus fees or room and board. The increase would raise an estimated $180 million in annual revenue, with about one-third set aside for financial aid.

Under the plan, the 10-campus system would expand its financial aid program, called the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, so most students from families earning less than $80,000 annually would not have to pay any tuition. The program currently covers families earning less than $70,000.

UC officials said the fee increase is needed to maintain student enrollment, courses and services following deep cuts in state funding that have led to faculty furloughs, course cutbacks and enrollment reductions at the 10-campus university system.

"Nobody wants ever to raise fees," said Regent Sherry Lansing. But she said she voted for the fee hike because "the most important thing is to preserve the quality of the university."

Student Regent Jesse Cheng voted against the tuition increase, saying that students have already sacrificed a lot.

"I don't believe it's a long term solution," said Cheng, a student at UC Irvine. "The state is in a difficult position and we have to be real about the financial difficulties we face, but they're accountable to the students as much as we are."

At Wednesday's protest, police arrested 13 people, including 10 UC students, during the demonstration outside the campus building where the Board of Regents was meeting. One student was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon after a campus police officer was hit in the head with his own baton.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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