The University of California Board of Regents on Wednesday postponed until May a vote on whether or not to raise tuition for students at the system's 10 campuses.
Gov. Jerry Brown sent a letter via email to the regents urging them to reject the proposal.
UC President Janet Napolitano subsequently asked the regents to delay the vote until May. Napolitano did not refer to Brown's letter but said the delay would give regents more time to lobby the Legislature for more public funding.
The proposal calls for a 2.7 percent hike in tuition and fees for the 2018-19 academic year. If approved, the cost for California residents who currently pay $12,630 in tuition and fees would increase to $12,972.
Out-of-state students would pay an additional $978, or an increase of 3.5 percent, bringing their total for annual tuition and fees to $28,992.
If approved, this would be the second year in a row in which tuition was raised.
Many students have vocally opposed the increase saying higher tuition puts too much burden on students already struggling to pay for their educations.
"We're already paying an extraordinarily high amount for the education here and it's just more of a financial burden for our families back home," UC Berkeley student Yash Bhate said.
Fellow student Alex Liu said the proposed hike is "tough," but he says he's still probably going to be willing to pay extra to continue his education.
Earlier this month, Brown proposed a 3 percent increase in base funding for the UC system in his 2018-19 budget plan, down from a 4 percent increase in previous years, and urged university officials to "live within their means."
Napolitano called the 3 percent increase "less than we anticipated under the framework we established with the governor." She said in a statement the UC was committed to its plan to add 2,000 California undergraduates and 500 graduate students in fall 2018.
"The campuses have asked for this increase because they need it at a time when California undergraduate enrollment is at an all-time high," UC spokeswoman Claire Doan said. The additional revenue from tuition hikes would go toward hiring more faculty members, creating new courses and funding additional mental health services.
Doan said increased financial aid would cover the higher costs for roughly 100,000 students, more than half of the system's 180,000 California resident undergraduates, who already pay no tuition.
The UC Student Association has collected nearly 3,000 signatures in an online petition titled, "Stop the UC Tuition Hike," said student organizer Maxwell Lubin. The petition says, "As UC students, we demand that the regents stop the tuition hike, and that the California legislature fully fund the UC system."
The California State University system is also proposing a tuition hike. The system's proposal calls for a 4 percent increase, which would amount to a jump of about $228 per year.