Graduate Business Fee
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU), while recognizing the need to adequately fund high cost and high demand graduate programs, recommend that the Board of Trustees (BOT) reject the proposal, as presented to the BOT in September 2007, to implement a $210/unit supplementary fee on students enrolled in graduate business programs (http://www.calstate.edu/BOT/Agendas/Sep07/EdPol.pdf Agenda Item 1); and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU endorse the following principles:
a. The CSU must make every effort to meet its financial needs without increasing costs for students and potential students.
b. Proposals to determine student fees on the basis of the discipline program in which the students are enrolled, or on the basis of the potential economic benefit accruing to students in a given program, must be carefully considered for their impact on both affected students and on all other programs in the CSU.
c. Proposals to determine student fees on the basis of discipline must take into account the diversity of CSU’s constituent universities and the differing situations of degree programs
;and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU acknowledge the serious financial challenges faced by American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) -accredited business degree programs in the CSU in meeting the requirements for accreditation; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU recognizes the market-based constraints faced by such programs seeking to hire and retain high-quality faculty; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU urge the Chancellor’s Office to work with the Executive Committee of the ASCSU as well as faculty in Business and other disciplines to craft an approach to meeting these challenges – and similar challenges facing the CSU in other disciplines. This approach should not unduly burden students, create unwarranted inequalities among programs, or move significantly in the direction of “privatizing” CSU programs, and should be subsumed within the broader context of a clearly defined policy governing differentiation of fees by discipline.
RATIONALE: The proposal to introduce a special fee for students in graduate business programs, as presented in the BOT agenda in September, has divided faculty. Most faculty, especially in Business, recognize that the demands of the AACSB accreditation process have created serious difficulties and financial problems for colleges and schools of business in the CSU and for the universities of which they are a part. However, most faculty, including many faculty in Business, are also concerned that resolving these problems in the manner foreseen in the September
2007 BOT agenda raises serious problems. First, as the draft of the “Access to Excellence” strategic plan stresses, the CSU cannot address its fiscal challenges through “privatization.” Student fees have nearly doubled in the past six years and it is likely that fees will rise again next year. An additional increase of about $10,000 in the cost of a graduate business degree could, in this context, have a potentially serious impact on how higher education in general is funded. Second, any proposal to implement fees differentiated by discipline would be precedent-setting and have broad implications for the mission of the CSU. This would be the first time that the CSU enacted a fee based largely on the personal benefit accruing to the individual student rather than on the societal benefit provided by an educated populace. Third, many faculty are concerned that consultation regarding the graduate business fee took place, before the September board meeting, almost exclusively among business faculty, deans of colleges and schools of business, and the executive leadership of the CSU, with little to no involvement of faculty in other disciplines, the ASCSU, and campus senates. Finally, many faculty are concerned that other high-cost programs will also turn to discipline-based fees to address fiscal problems that are fundamentally systemic. This could create an unfortunate multi-tiered system of more and less affluent programs and undermine the solidarity of faculty and students to the detriment of all.
At the same time, however, programs outside colleges and schools of business are currently in effect subsidizing business programs. This is also the situation of other high-cost degree programs. To maintain accreditation and hire faculty, colleges and schools of business must now rely on the general university budget, thereby leaving fewer resources for other programs. The AACSB has specific and stringent standards for the quantity and quality of academically and professionally qualified faculty. Some CSU colleges and schools of business are under pressure to meet these standards, which require greater research and lower workloads than most CSUs can afford. Maintaining AACSB accreditation is widely recognized by many faculty and students in business disciplines as critical to preserving the appeal and quality of their programs.
Enrollments in graduate business programs in the CSU have declined by roughly 20% in recent years. In addition, only limited numbers of students from underserved populations – especially African-American and Hispanic students – are enrolled in such programs. It is not clear what impact such a fee increase might have on these enrollments. Nor has it been entirely clear how the $210 fee level was determined and the extent to which alternative proposals have been considered.
It is possible for the CSU to address the challenges posed by inadequate funding – for both business programs and the CSU in general – on the basis of clear criteria for the implementation of discipline-based fees and in a manner that places minimal burdens on students and does not adversely impact other programs or the ability of the CSU to provide broadly accessible and affordable high-quality degree programs for all segments of California’s population.
Approved – January 17-18, 2008