California State University Board of Trustees Meets Dec. 16 on Budget, Fees

(December 12, 2002) -- The California State University Board of Trustees will meet at 10 a.m. Monday, December 16, to address the $59.6 million in new mid-year cuts proposed by the governor. To maintain access and the high-quality education offered by the CSU campuses, trustees will consider a proposal to raise student fees for the first time in eight years.

The state's fiscal crisis is growing the deficit is estimated between $21 and $30 billion through 2004. When the $59.6 million cut is added to reductions already made by the state, the fiscal impact for this year totals $125 million out of the CSU's $2.68 billion budget.

"Increasing fees is a painful but necessary step if we are to fulfill our mission of providing educational opportunities to students," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "If we did not increase fees, we would face a situation similar to the early 1990s when we had to cut back on the classes we offered and students suffered. That would not be fair to the 406,000 students at CSU who are trying to earn their degrees. We must follow through on our commitment to provide those students with access to high-quality classes and services."

To partially offset the decreased level of state funding, the CSU trustees will consider implementing a mid-year student fee increase of $72 for undergraduates and $114 for graduate students at semester-term campuses. Quarter campuses fees would be $96 and $152, respectively. If these increases are approved, $30 million will be generated, but trustee policy mandates that one-third of the fee increase, $10 million, go immediately for financial aid to assist students. The net of the potential fee increase is $20 million.

"The Board of Trustees is absolutely committed to access," said Chair Debra Farar. "The CSU is the most diverse university system in this country, and providing educational opportunities to this new generation of students is crucial to the well-being of our state. As a former first-generation student myself, I understand why having access to higher education is so important. This is why we are discussing fee increases to maintain access and quality. We cannot afford to lose a generation of students because classes are not available for them."

Currently, CSU full-time undergraduate students pay an annual State University Fee of $1,428, the lowest in the country. If trustees approve the increase, the undergraduate fee will go from $1,428 to $1,572 annually. The graduate fee will go from $1,506 to $1,734 annually.

With added campus fees (for example, student union, activities, health fees), CSU undergraduates now pay an average $1,926 per year. Full-time graduate students pay $1,506 annually, with campus fees bringing that to $2,004. (Nonresident students pay additional fees based on units taken.)

The CSU's $1,926 fee level is the lowest of the 15 national public institutions CSU uses for comparison purposes. The average of that group is $4,584, more than double current CSU fees. For example, fees at the State University of New York, Albany, are $5,337 annually, those at the University of Texas, Arlington, are $4,123 annually, and those at Arizona State University are $2,585 annually.

CSU resident fees have not increased since 1994/95, and in fact undergraduate fees have decreased 10 percent in that time period. If the trustees approve the new fee level, it will be the first time since 1982/83 that a mid-year increase has occurred.

The UC Board of Regents also will vote on a fee increase on Dec. 16. Their proposal is to increase undergraduate fees by $135 in the spring quarter. Currently, the UC basic fee is $3,429 annually.

The CSU's nominal fees are still an incredible bargain. According to the College Board, people with a college degree earn 81 percent more on average than those with only a high school diploma. Over a lifetime, the gap in earning potential between a high school diploma and a bachelor's degree is more than $1 million.

Media information:

The proposal that the trustees will vote on is available on the CSU website at

The call-in number for those who wish to listen to the meeting is (916) 278-2663. The password is 55555.

If you attending in person, please have your press credentials, as the room is expected to be extremely crowded and access may be limited to maintain room capacity.

The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. and last at least until noon. It will be held at the CSU Chancellor's Office, Dumke Auditorium, 401 Golden Shore, Long Beach.

Contact: Colleen Bentley-Adler, (562) 951-4801,

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Last Updated: 12 December 2002

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