The Regents of the University of California open a three-day meeting at UCLA this morning, where they are expected to approve the largest UC fee increase in eighteen years — and confront some of their strongest student opposition ever.

The hike, which would raise in-state student fees to more than $10,000 a year, is scheduled for consideration by the board’s finance committee on Wednesday. If approved there, it will be sent to the full board for a Thursday vote.

The UC system is technically “tuition free,” but it charges student fees higher than many public universities’ tuition charges. If the current proposal is adopted, fees will rise by 15% this spring and by another 15% this summer, adding up to a hike of about fifty percent over two years.

Student protest actions against the increases — and against cuts to university budgets and enrollment — have already begun, but they’re expected to heat up tomorrow, Wednesday the 18th, with a large-scale walkout, strike, and demonstration at the regents meeting.

We’ll have more detail on planned (and unplanned) events tonight or tomorrow morning, and we’ll be following developments in California all week as they happen.