State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins from the 78th district in San Diego concluded the second day of the California Higher Education Student Summit (CHESS) after receiving the California State Student Association Legislature of the Year award at Sacramento State.
The University Union Ballroom was filled with CSSA representatives from all 23 CSU campuses to hear Atkins speak on issues the California universities are facing and how to make impactful solutions that will help students in the future.
Atkins stated how government should shift its focus to making higher education more affordable, since the state is in recovery from the recession. Between 2008 and 2012, college tuition in California doubled, increasing student loan debt.
“We’ve gotten past that recession,” said Atkins. “State finances are in solid shape and they’re getting stronger, so there is some room for reinvestment for our universities and our students. My diplomatic colleagues and I are reviewing our budget blueprints. One of the things that I’ve said and we are pushing for is an additional $150 million for the CSU.”
One of Atkins’ notable achievements includes spearheading the creation of the Middle Class Scholarship, which helps about 81,000 UC and CSU students afford college education and prevents debt.