Trustees eye fee bump

Greg Kane

The California State University in the coming months will discuss a tuition increase for out-of-state students as fears of budget shortage grow.

The proposed 15 percent hike to non-resident fees was presented at the March 13 CSU Board of Trustees meeting at Sacramento State. This marks the first time since Gov. Gray Davis? budget proposal in January that the system has publicly discussed the possibility of any student fee increase, said CSU Spokeswoman Clara Potes-Fellow.

The Trustees will likely vote on the increase at theirMay meeting, she said.

Approximately 10,800 of the 388,000 CSU students pay non-resident fees, said CSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Richard West. If the increase is approved, it will raise tuition from $9,256 to $10,336 a year, generating $11.8 million for the system.

“We do see this as essential in creating additional revenue in a year where we?ll need as much revenue as possible,” West said at the meeting.

The proposal comes less than a month after the California Legislative Analyst?s Office suggested enacting new fee policies in the CSU in preparation for an anticipated $12 billion state budget deficit in 2002-03. That report suggested changes in both resident and non-resident fees.

Following the Trustees meeting, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed and other representatives attended a budget hearing at the state capitol. Sac State?s representative to the California State Student Association, Brandon Kline, lobbied against raising tuition at the hearing, but he said the overall feeling is that the legislature considers the increase a done deal.

“The general tone down there is that tough times call for tough measures,” Kline said.

Raising fees on out-of-state students makes political sense for the legislature, since those students and their parents don?t vote in California, Kline said.

If tuition goes up on one group, however, a hike on the state university fee for residents could be next, he said.

“If they?re picking on out-of-state students, eventually it?s going to lead to us,” Kline said. “It?s a domino effect, is how I see it.”

Davis? budget proposal leaves out a $27.9 million student fee increase buyout usually picked up by the state, forcing the CSU to look elsewhere for funding. Though the buyout could still find its way into the budget before being signed in June, it?s more likely those funds will have to come from somewhere else in the system, said LAO Director of Higher Education Steve Boilard.

“Everything?s in the mix,” Boilard said. “The issue of CSU undergraduate fees is on the table.”

Non-resident tuition hasn?t been adjusted since 1991-92, West said.