The University of California would raise tuition by more than 25 percent over five years under a plan passed on Wednesday by a committee of the system's governing board, a move strongly opposed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

The full Board of Regents will vote on Thursday on the proposal, part of an escalating and public contest of wills between Brown and Janet Napolitano, the former U.S. homeland security chief who is now the university's president.

"Governor, you're going to vote 'No,' and I understand that," Napolitano said during discussion of the fee increase. "But ... this plan needs to move forward."

The governor is one of the 26 regents.

Under Napolitano's plan, the university would increase tuition at the prestigious 10-campus system by 5 percent for each of the next five years, starting with a jump of $612 next year that would bring the total to $12,804.

The proposal was released via a newspaper opinion piece written by Napolitano and regent Bruce D. Varner two days after the Nov. 4 election returned Brown to an unprecedented fourth term in office.

It has alienated the fiscally moderate governor, who had pledged to increase funding for the system only if administrators would freeze tuition.

Funding for the system was cut back dramatically during the economic downturn, but it has been increasing gradually over the last few years.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)