Bill to limit fee increase to be heard Monday in Legislature
By Miriam Raftery
June 18, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – The California State University Board of Trustees today voted to raise CSU fees by 5% for undergraduates and graduate students and by 10% for doctoral education students. For full-time undergraduates, that amounts to a $204 annual increase—bringing total CSU fees to $4,230 starting in fall 2010.
Gavin Newsom, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, called the hikes “unacceptable” and noted that CSU has raised fees seven times in eight years—including a 32% hike last year alone.
“That cost is pricing very many would-be students out of the chances of getting a college education,” said Pat Washington, an instructor at San Diego State University and a leader with California Communities Unitied Institute.
She added, “Education is the key to a person’s economic future. People with a college education earn considerably more than those with just a high school education or less. To really live comfortably in this state, you need a college education.”
Newsom, currently Mayor of San Francisco, concluded, “We must do everything possible to relieve our middle class of the skyrocketing cost of higher education, which is necessary for the economic viability of the state.” He said other sources of revenue for the CSU system should be found to help the half-million CSU students afford college.
On Monday, SB 969 will be heard in the Assembly Higher Education Committee. The bill would limit fee increase at public colleges and universities to no more than 40% of total education costs at UC and 30% of total costs at CSU, with the balance paid by the state. Fees would also be restricted from rising faster than costs of goods and services purchased by schools. Last year, the UC system raised fees 20% and CSU fees went up 32%.
A recent economic report found that CSU supports over 150,000 jobs statewide, creating $17 billion in economic activity and generating $5.43 for every dollar that the state invests.
CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said the board’s decision was necessitated by the state budget. “It will allow us to move forward with adding classes and sections for students this fall,” he said. CSU has faced unprecedented cuts in state support over the past two years totaling $625 million and has sought to address the cuts through employee furloughs, layoffs, reduced enrollment, increased student fees and other measures.
CSU voted 10 to 2 in favor of the fee hikes, with one abstention. Lt. Governor Abe Maldonado and Russel Statham cast the dissenting votes, with Margaret Fortune abstaining. Trustees also voted unanimously to remove the nonresidential tuition cap. Trustees warn that additional fee hikes or spending cuts may be needed in the fall if a proposed budget to restore some funding is not passed.
Democrats in the state Assembly have proposed a budget to restore some cuts to the CSU system, but Republicans have thus far balked at proposals in the budget to raise revenues, notably a wellhead tax on oil. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has also proposed a budget that would include a restoration of $305 million from “one-time” cuts to CSU in the 2009-2010 budget plus $60.6 million to fund enrollment expansion.