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San Francisco�Andrea Luquetta has long planned for a career in public interest law. “My family experienced a lot of discrimination as immigrants and people of color,” said the third-year student at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, “and so it’s made me want to work with people who face similar problems.” But with fees for professional programs at University of California (U.C.) campuses skyrocketing, those plans may need to wait until she’s paid off some of her mounting-and, she claims, unexpected-debt. Luquetta is the lead plaintiff in a class action, filed last month, that accuses the U.C. regents of breaking their promise to not raise professional fees for students who started law school in 2003. “I think that every time they increase the cost, it makes it harder for low-income people to access education,” Luquetta said. Her suit, Luquetta v. UC Regents, No. 05-443007, is the second class action brought in San Francisco Superior Court against U.C. by students who see the latest fee increases as a breach of contract. In 2003, another group of U.C. students filed Kashmiri v. Regents, No. 03-422747. Judge James Warren granted a preliminary injunction in that case preventing additional fees from being collected, and the plaintiffs recently filed a motion for summary judgment. In both cases, the plaintiffs are not seeking damages, but want to avoid fee increases and to get refunds for increases already paid. In Kashmiri, that would cost U.C. about $55 million, said Ravi Poorsini, spokeswoman for the U.C. president’s office. No request has been made to recover legal costs-the students’ attorneys are working pro bono. “I’m certainly hoping the university will be held to the promise it made to its students,” said Jonathan Weissglass of San Francisco firm Altshuler, Berzon, Nussbaum, Rubin & Demain, plaintiffs’ counsel in both cases. The students say they entered a contract with the university when they accepted admission based on information they’d been provided. They point to the 2002 and 2003 University of California, Berkeley School of Law catalogs and applications, which state that “the professional degree fee remains at the same level for the three years in which the student is enrolled in the program.” At an estimated $36,585 for the 2005-06 year, tuition and fees at U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall is now more expensive for out-of-state students than is private Stanford Law School, which cost $33,870 last year. University officials cite statements found throughout school publications and on the Internet that warn students that “all fees are subject to change.” In Kashmiri, Warren found those statements too broad and not applicable to the professional degree fee. U.C. officials say they had no choice but to raise fees. “The university is faced with the problem of either cutting programs and undermining education in either the short or long term, or increasing fees,” said university counsel Christopher Patti. “The main effect of the lawsuits and injunctions and any possible damages awarded is the shift of the cost of the plaintiffs’ education to other students,” Patti said.

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