Tuition at UC Santa Barbara will rise to $12,630 for the 2017-2018 school year. The estimated cost of attendance for a California resident living off campus is $31,449 for the present school year.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

For the first time in six years, the University of California will raise the cost of tuition.

Last week, the Board of Regents approved a 2.5-percent increase that will take effect in the 2017-18 school year.

Undergraduates and graduate students who are California residents will see their tuition bump up to $11,502 from $11,220. Coupled with the student service fee, which is rising by $54, students’ effective tuition will be $12,630.

On top of the resident rate, nonresidents pay a supplemental tuition that will increase to $1,332, bringing their total, including the service fee, to $40,644.

At UC Santa Barbara, the estimated cost of attendance for the present school year for a California resident living off-campus was $31,449.

The campus in in the midst of an enrollment push as it works toward a 5,000-student increase in undergraduates by 2025, many of whom are to be housed in the apartment complexes that UCSB is rapidly building along Storke and El Colegio roads.

In addition to the undergrads, UCSB’s Long Range Development Plan outlines a jump in graduate student enrollment to 17 percent of its total student body. It is also planning to bring on more faculty to keep up with rising enrollment.

For the present school year, just under 36 percent of freshman applicants were admitted to UCSB, according to the UC.​

UCSB isn’t the only campus adding students, and UC system officials said the tuition hike — expected to bring in $88 million — was necessary to cover academic improvements for the system’s 10 campuses.

Fall 2016 welcomed 7,500 more undergraduates to the UC system than the previous year.

“More investment is needed to make sure that this generation and future generations of UC students receive the same quality of education as past generations,” UC President Janet Napolitano said at the regents’ meeting at UC San Francisco.

The move was widely criticized by students, who argue that making ends meet in college is already difficult enough with housing, food insecurity issues and other costs.

Also looming over the vote was Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to phase out the state’s only scholarship program for middle-class students.

“By doing the Legislature and the governor’s work by finding the revenue, we’ve let them off the hook,” said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, an ex officio regent who voted against the increase.

“To find the $88 million — they don’t have to now. That’s a strategic blunder, I think, on our part.”

Joining Newsom in the opposition group of the 16-4 vote were student regent Marcela Ramirez of UC Riverside, Assemblyman John Pérez and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

According to the UC system, two-thirds of California undergraduates would have the tuition increase covered by financial aid.

One-third of the new revenues from the increase will go to financial aid, according to the University of California. The rest will go toward bringing in more faculty, more student counseling and tutoring, and improving support for graduate students and teaching assistance.

Also considering a tuition hike is the 23-campus California State University system.

The CSU is proposing increases of up to 4.8 percent for undergraduates, 6.1 percent for graduate students and 4.7 percent for credential students.

According to CSU, which is the largest public university system in the country, students with family incomes below $70,000 would have the increase covered by financial aid.

Like the UC system, the CSU cites declining state funding and wants to hire more faculty, offer more classes and boost enrollment.

Its Board of Trustees will vote on an increase in March.

Last week, Santa Barbara City College’s Board of Trustees approved its own $24 per semester-unit tuition hike for nonresident students.

The board, voting 7-1 with student trustee Emily Gribble dissenting, approved a total tuition fee of $285 per semester-unit as it faces a $9 million budget gap.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.