CSU considers tuition hike


(Photo by TaxCredits.com/Flickr/Creative Commons)

Kameron Schmid

The California State University Board of Trustees is weighing the option of raising tuition costs for students, but won’t yet make its decision, pushing the vote to March 2017 as students protested the proposal.

The proposed tuition increase for 2017-2018 is $270, almost five percent of the current $5,472 yearly rate. That would potentially raise up to $127 million a year for the CSU system, courtesy of the nearly 470,000 students.

The hike is necessary now, the trustees claim, as rising enrollment and falling graduation rates need to be supported with more system-wide funding, as state funding continues to drop despite higher enrollment.

Reporting by The Los Angeles Times seems to agree; student tuition, frozen since 2011, has still doubled since 2006, while the amount of state spending per enrolled student has fallen since 2000.

The official CSU proposal says the same, highlighting that CSU was once 80 percent funded by state tax money, and now are only half-funded by the state, with likely no increase coming.

“As of right now, there is a $168 million gap between the CSU’s preliminary budget plan for 2017-18 and the state’s funding plan,” said Elizabeth Chaplin, a spokesperson for CSU.

And now with record enrollment across the system, those in charge of the CSU’s books are saying university operation as is will no longer feasible without an increase in funding, from the state or the students.

A website has been created by the California State Student Association (CSSA) to compile the proposal and other related sources of information about the proposal. Students can also submit comments of what they think about the increase, and how it might affect them.

In the proposal and attached materials, the need to lobby state legislators and Governor Jerry Brown for more state funding is often mentioned; there is even a hashtag, #StandWithCSU.

The option of asking students to pay more for a CSU education is a last resort, according to the university, and will not be necessary if the system can receive more money from the state. The university will also consider scaling back some expenditures.

“The first and highest priority to close the gap is to advocate in Sacramento for increased state funding,” said Chaplin.

CSSA President David Lopez has written two letters since the announcement of the proposal, and in his first, took a strong stance that the students have been footing a rapidly increasing bill, and that the state needs to step up.

“It is imperative that the devastating impact of the state’s disinvestment in higher education is reversed if the promise of an affordable, accessible, and quality CSU education is to be kept,” Lopez wrote in the letter.

Sacramento State’s student government, Associated Students Incorporated, will be holding a forum on the possible increase, featuring Sac State’s president Robert Nelsen, ASI President Patrick Dorsey and ASI Business Director Mia Kagianis, who is also the vice president of finance for CSSA.

The ASI forum will encourage feedback from attendees through questions or comments, and is being held on December 5 in the Orchard Suite in the Union, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.