"Professional" Students May Pay 230% More at UC Schools

About 12,000 students total will be affected by new surcharges

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    The word "professional" is about to get a lot more expensive for some UC students.

    The school is changing the status of wanna-be architects, social workers, and urban planners to "professional" degree candidates starting next year. As a result, the school will tack on as much as $8,000 to their bill, according to the LA Times.

    What a difference a word makes.

    Law, business, and medical students currently fall under "professional" status. About 12,000 students total will be affected by the surcharges, pushing their fees 46% to 230% higher than those of graduate students in such programs as English or chemistry, according to the Times.

    Administrators cite state funding cuts and say professional programs cost more money. Faculty salaries are higher and the programs cost more to operate. Without the extra revenue the school would be forced to lay off teachers.

    Critics say the university is becoming more like a high priced private institution instead of a low cost public university. They say its fee tactics are unfair and based on the false idea students will automatically land high paying jobs after they graduate.

    "The state and the regents are putting the burden of the state budget gap on the students and the real concern is about the privatization of the university," Jessica Luk, a UC Berkeley graduate student in city and regional planning, told the Times.

    The new fees could raise the cost of programs like UC Berkley's Boalt Law School to as much as $44,000 for California residents. Lower cost degrees in areas such as social welfare would be $18,163.