Students could be left picking up Davis’ tab

Greg Kane

Students could be left picking up the tab after Gov.Gray Davis failed to include a $27.9 million feeincrease buyout his 2002-03 California StateUniversity budget proposal.

The state normally includes any expected student feeincreases in its budget as part of a partnershipagreement between the CSU and the governor reached inMay 2000. Due to a potential $12 billion budgetdeficit this year, the buyout didn?t make the cut inDavis? January proposal, said Sacramento State VicePresident for Administration Ed Del Biaggio.

“Under normal circumstances, (Davis) would have thrownthat $28 million into the budget,” Del Biaggio said.

“They weren?t (normal) this year.”

The omission “leaves the door open” for thepossibility of a fee increase, Del Biaggio said. It?sunknown whether the money will be added to the budgetbefore Davis signs it in June, and any decision likelywouldn’t be made until then.

Student fees are split into System-wide andcampus-based subdivisions, said CSU Spokeswoman ClaraPotes-Fellow. The flat state university fee is $1,428,and at Sacramento State, students currently pay anadditional $459 per year.

Potes-Fellow said there has been no talk in the CSUadministration of raising the state university fee.Whether the individual campuses in the System wouldraise their campus fees is anybody’s guess, she said.

“Whatever the campuses feel they have to do is theirown decision,” Potes-Fellow said.

Sac State students will already see an increase intheir campus-based fees beginning this summer, DelBiaggio said. That increase figures to be minimal,however, and the University could look into cuttingspending in other areas should any other fee hikesbecome necessary, he said.

Del Biaggio said he doesn’t think the state universityfee would go up, despite the current budget situation.

“That would require (CSU) Board of Trustees action todo that,” he said, “and my general feeling is thestate university fee would not be affected.”

The possibility of a fee increase led representativesof the California State Student Association to adopt aresolution in December opposing any such action. SacState CSSA Representative Brandon Kline said theorganization would also attempt to pass a similarresolution in various student government organizationsthrough out the System, including Sac State?sAssociated Students, Inc.

“Students are going to have to step up and see that itdoesn?t happen,” Kline said.

Kline accused the governor of “passing the buck” onthe issue of raising student fees by leaving thebuyout out of his budget proposal. Davis said in thepast that fees wouldn?t be raised, but theresponsibility is no longer in his hands, Kline said.

“This is an election year, and the governor is passingresponsibility for the fee increase,” Kline said.

The annual fee increase is based on the annualpercentage change in the California Per CapitaPersonal Income, according to the partnershipagreement. The increase for 2002-03 is expected to be7.82 percent.

There are currently more than 370,000 students in theCSU system, according to its Web site. Should the full$27.9 million be divided evenly among each student bedivided evenly among each student, the resultingincrease would be just more than $75 per year.

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