Campus: San Diego State University -- April 28, 2004

SDSU President Implements $80 Student Fee Increase to Provide More Classes, Balance Athletics Funding

San Diego State University President Stephen L. Weber announced today to students that he will implement an $80 per semester increase in the campus' current Instructional Related Activities (IRA) fee. The fee increase will enable the university to offer about 490 more course sections over the next academic year, and help its Athletics department offset the continuing loss of state funds and the rising cost of scholarships and student-athlete support services.

The fee increase will generate approximately $4.8 million a year for SDSU Athletics and allow the university to transfer about $2.4 million in state funds annually to its academic budget. It lost by a narrow margin in an advisory student referendum held April 14-15.

Weber had followed the advice of the majority vote in previous fee referenda since his arrival at SDSU in 1996. But in this case, he said, he must approve the fee increase because the university has an urgent need to provide classes as it faces of a third straight year of budget reductions that will likely bring the university's total negative budget impact since the 2002-2003 fiscal year to more than $40 million.

"I cannot allow our students and this university to fall victim to this budget crisis when we have ways to mitigate it," said Weber, who notified SDSU students of his decision this morning via e-mail. "In the early 1990s, budget cuts rendered the university unable to provide adequate course sections. It proved catastrophic for our students, greatly impeding their progress toward graduation and in many cases halting it altogether. The repercussions lasted for years. I would not be meeting my responsibilities as president if I did not do everything within my power to prevent that circumstance from happening again."

The increase, which raises the IRA fee to $95 per semester for students attending the main campus, will start with the fall 2004 term. IRA fees, designed to support student-related activities outside of the classroom, cannot be used to fund courses directly. Therefore, the approximately $4.8 million per year in revenue generated by the fee increase will go to the Athletics department. Athletics will then permanently transfer from its General Fund budget allocation to Academic Affairs an amount equal to 50 percent of that revenue. This will enable SDSU's colleges to support additional instructional course sections.

In the weeks leading up to the student referendum, the proposed fee increase earned the endorsement of many campus groups and organizations including Associated Students, the University Senate and the SDSU chapter of the California Faculty Association. Last week the Campus Fee Advisory Committee, the official advisory body to the campus president on all student fee issues, recommended implementation of the IRA fee increase.

"These courses are essential to our ability to serve students," Weber said. "We estimate more than 15,000 individual spaces will be available in the additional 490 sections. This will help ensure our current students get the classes they need in order to graduate in a timely manner, and it will ensure that future students waiting to get into SDSU will have courses available when they arrive."

Weber said the fee increase also helps prevent students from taking a significant financial hit caused by delays in receiving their degree.

"Last year our average student who received a bachelor's degree left SDSU for a position paying $33,500 per year. For each semester that a student's graduation is delayed because of the unavailability of needed courses, that student stands to lose $16,750 in career income," he said.

Weber said the IRA fee increase also will benefit the overall health of the university by bringing a more sustainable balance of funding to the Athletics department, putting its fee revenue structure more in line with others in the Mountain West Conference.

"This will decrease the Athletics department's reliance on state funds while at the same time providing additional resources it needs to meet increasing costs for scholarships and other services for student-athletes," Weber said.

Weber also plans to authorize a $16 per semester student union fee increase, starting in fall 2006, to pay for a university swimming facility. That fee was approved by a separate student vote during the April 14-15 advisory referenda, and Weber's approval is conditional upon final validation of the student advisory referendum results.

SDSU is the oldest and largest institution of higher education in the San Diego region. Founded in 1897, SDSU offers bachelor's degrees in 79 areas, master's degrees in 67 and doctorates in 14. SDSU's more than 33,000 students participate in academic curricula distinguished by direct contact with faculty and an increasing international emphasis that prepares them for a global future. For more information log on to

Media Contact: Jason Foster,, SDSU Marketing & Communications, (619) 594-2585 Pager (619) 620-1184

SDSU Annual Mandatory Student Fees Fact Sheet

With the implementation of the $80 per semester Instructionally Related Activities fee increase, San Diego State University's total annual mandatory undergraduate student fees for California residents for 2004-05 stands at $2,648. (This total reflects the combination of the systemwide State University fee plus campus-based fees for two semesters.)

Even with the IRA fee increase, SDSU remains one of the best values in the nation in public higher education.

  • SDSU's fees will rank no higher than fifth among the 23-campus California State University system.
  • The current fee average at public universities nationwide is 77 percent higher than what SDSU students are set to pay next year.
Here's how SDSU's current fees for 2004-05 compare to 2003-04 fees at several different groups of universities.*

University/Group Total Annual
Mandatory Fees
San Diego State University $2,648
California State University System Average $2,572
Public University National Average $4,694
California State University Comparison Universities $5,272
University of California $5,487

(*Note: Many states, including California, are currently considering systemwide increases in university fees for the 2004-05 academic year.)

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