Budget Cuts Force California State University Board of Trustees to Raise Fees

(December 16, 2002) -- Hit with $125 million in cuts this year, the California State University Board of Trustees voted today to increase undergraduate student fees by $72 a semester to maintain access and quality at its 23 campuses.

The fee increase, approved by a 13-3 vote, goes into effect beginning in January with the spring semester or winter quarter (six CSU campuses are on the quarter system and 17 are on the semester system). Students at quarter campuses will pay an additional $96 total for the winter and spring quarters. Graduate students at semester campuses will pay an additional $114 and graduate students at quarter campuses will pay an additional $152.

"These are really, really tough times for California," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "We had been told our cuts would be one time, but now they are permanent. We didn't want to recommend raising fees, but everybody has to share a part of the pain if the CSU is to maintain quality and access."

Nearly 200 students traveled to Long Beach to protest the fee increases, and several spoke about how the fees would impact themselves and other students. Trustees all thanked them for attending, but said if they didn't act now, it would be much worse in the future.

"I don't like this; no one likes this, but we have a responsibility to the entire system to make sure access and quality are maintained," said Trustee Robert Foster. "Indecision is the enemy of the future, and we have to act now."

Both the CSU statewide Academic Senate and statewide Alumni Council endorsed the fee increases.

The board acted in the face of a $59.6 million mid-year cut by the governor, which is on top of a $43 million cut and $22.8 million in unfunded costs the system experienced earlier this year. There are more than 8,000 full-time equivalent students unfunded at the CSU this year. In total, the CSU will have to cut $125 million from its $2.68 billion budget during 2002/03. On January 10, when Gov. Davis releases his 2003/04 budget proposal, the CSU will learn of additional cuts for the coming year, which many predict to be worse than this year.

Currently, CSU full-time undergraduate students pay an annual State University Fee of $1,428, the lowest in the country. With Monday's action, the undergraduate fee will go from $1,428 to $1,572 annually. The graduate fee will go from $1,506 to $1,734 annually.

The fee increase will generate $30 million, but trustee policy mandates that one-third of the fee increase, $10 million, go directly to financial aid to assist students. The net of the fee increase is $20 million. More than 108,000 CSU students who receive State University Grants will qualify for funds to offset the increases, and nearly 30,000 CSU students will qualify for Cal Grant funds to offset the fee increases.

CSU resident fees had not increased since 1994/95, and in fact undergraduate fees have decreased 10 percent in that time period. This is the first time since 1982/83 that a mid- year increase has occurred.

Those voting against the fee increase were Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, Student Trustee Erene Thomas and Trustee Ricardo Icaza.

The CSU's 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.

Contact: Colleen Bentley-Adler, (562) 951-4801, cbentley-adler@calstate.edu
Clara Potes-Fellow, (562) 951-4806, cpotes-fellow@calstate.edu

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Last Updated: 16 December 2002

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