Following the lead of several elite Ivy League schools, UC Berkeley chancellors announced yesterday that they'll be cutting tuition costs for families with annual incomes between $80,000 and $140,000. In a conference yesterday, Berkeley officials promised that tuition next fall for middle class families will not exceed 15% of their annual income, marking the first time a public university has made such a move.

The decision comes as the university took note of the fact that the number of students from low-income and wealthy families were on the rise, while middle-class numbers were dwindling. Harvard, Princeton and Yale currently offer similar programs for families with incomes up to $200,000, but experts say that Berkeley just changed the game for academic institutions nationwide. Call it a victory for the 99 percent.

The announcement also comes just months after UC Regents announced potentially tuition hikes of 16% annually, and after multiple student protests have broken out relating to tuition.

At least now school officials are listening. Berkeley chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau said yesterday, “As a public institution we feel strongly that we need to sustain and expand access across the socioeconomic spectrum.”


Demonstrators struggle with police with a barricade in front of a closed off building on the University of California, Berkeley campus, Friday,. Nov. 20, 2009, during a demonstration against university fee hikes and layoffs. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)