Student Success Fees

Laws & Resolutions

State Law — Moratorium and Required Chancellor's Review

State law suspended the creation of new Student Success Fees between June 2014 and December 2015. It also required the chancellor to review the approval process for Student Success Fees, the means to improve transparency and accountability in campus use of funds, the development of an annual report on campus use of funds, and the impact on student programs and services during the fiscal year.

Education Code Section 89712 (Ending December 31,2015)

(a) A campus of the California State University, or the Chancellor of the California State University, or both, shall not approve a student success fee, as defined in subdivision (d), before January 1, 2016.

(b) During the 2014-15 fiscal year, the chancellor shall conduct a review of the California State University Student Fee Policy relating to student success fees and recommend to the trustees changes to the fee policy. In conducting the review and preparing recommended changes to the fee policy, the chancellor shall consider all of the following:

(1) The approval process for student success fees, including, but not limited to, the benefit of utilizing a student election or the consultative process in the approval process.

(2) The need for statewide policies governing a student election, the consultative process, or both, for approving a proposed student success fee, including, but not necessarily limited to, policies requiring campuses to issue a voter pamphlet, or other informational document, or both, that provides an objective analysis of the proposed fee, a detailed description of the proposed fee uses, statements for and against the proposed fee action, and a notification to students regarding the dates, times, and locations available to either vote, for purposes of a student election, or confer with campus leadership, for purposes of the consultative process, regarding a proposed fee.

(3) The means to improve transparency and accountability regarding a campus' use of student success fee funds for the benefit of members of the campus' community, including, but not necessarily limited to, students, faculty, staff, and the general public.

(4) The development of an annual report describing the use of student success fee funds by each campus in the prior academic year, to be posted on each campus' Internet Web site.

(5) The approval of a statewide policy to prohibit a campus from implementing a student success fee for a period exceeding five years unless a continuance of that fee is approved by an affirmative vote of the majority of the student body voting, or through the consultative process. Approval to continue an approved fee shall be required every five years.

(6) The impact of student success fees on campuses' academic programs and services available for students, including, but not necessarily limited to, low-income students.

(7) A provision for financial assistance to offset the cost of the fee for low-income students.

(c) (1) The chancellor shall report to the Department of Finance and the appropriate fiscal and policy committees of the Legislature, on or before February 1, 2015, regarding the chancellor's proposed revisions to the California State University Student Fee Policy related to student success fees.

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Trustees Resolution

The Board of Trustees passed a resolution during the January 27-28, 2015 meeting approving specific policies for Student Success Fees and addressing the implementation of a transparent process of accountability for all campus Student Success Fees.

...BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, each campus shall be required to have a transparent, online accountability protocol that clarifies the decision process and allocation of student success fees, with annual reporting to the Chancellor and public by October 15. All campuses shall be held to this standard for any existing and new student success fees imposed in the future...

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State Law - Codification of Trustees Resolution

In late 2015, State law repealed the Student Success Fee moratorium, the chancellor's required review, and replaced that section of law with new requirements related the Student Success Fees. These new statutory requirements closely align with the policies articulated by the Trustees resolution adopted in early 2015.

Education Code Section 89712 (Beginning January 1, 2016)

(a) (1) A campus of the California State University, or the Chancellor of the California State University, or both, shall not approve a new student success fee or an increase to an existing student success fee, as defined in subdivision (g), before all of the following requirements are satisfied:

(A) The campus undertakes a rigorous consultation process that informs and educates students on the uses, impact, and cost of any proposed student success fee or student success fee increase.

(B) The campus informs its students of all of the following circumstances, which shall apply to these fees:

(i) That, except as provided in clauses (ii) and (iii), a student success fee may be rescinded by a majority vote of the students, as specified in subdivision (c).

(ii) That a student success fee may not be rescinded earlier than six years following the vote to implement the fee.

(iii) If any portion of the student success fee is committed to support a long-term obligation, that portion of the fee may not be rescinded until the obligation has been satisfied.

(C) The campus shall hold a binding student election on the implementation of any proposed student success fees, or any increase to an existing student success fee, and a majority of the student body voting on the fee must vote affirmatively.

(2) Implementation of a fee supported by a majority of the campus student body voting on the fee is contingent upon the final approval of the Chancellor of the California State University.

(3) A student success fee proposal may not be brought before the student body more frequently than once per academic year.

(b) A student success fee in place on January 1, 2016, may be rescinded by a binding student vote under the procedures authorized in subdivision (c) only after at least six years have elapsed following the implementation of the fee.

(c) (1) Student success fees may be rescinded with a binding student vote wherein a simple majority of those students voting vote to rescind the fee. The student vote shall comply with all of the following:

(A) A campus decision to vote is formally approved by the recognized student government.

(B) Rescission vote proposals shall not be brought before the student body more frequently than once per academic year.

(C) In the process of reconsidering a student success fee, and before the student vote occurs, the students shall be informed, if a portion of the fee is supporting a long-term obligation, the dollar amount of that portion, and the date on which the long-term obligation would be satisfied.

(2) No new contractual or other obligation that would be supported by the rescinded student success fee may be entered into following a vote to rescind the fee.

(d) The Chancellor of the California State University shall ensure that all of the following occur on each campus:

(1) There is majority student representation in campus student success fee allocation oversight groups.

(2) There is an annual report from each campus to the chancellor on student success fees.

(3) There is uniform, transparent, online accountability in the decision-making process for, and a detailed accounting of, the allocation of student success fees.

(e) The Chancellor of the California State University shall establish appropriate reporting procedures to ensure that a campus is in compliance with the requirements of this section.

(f) The chancellor shall report, by December 1 of each year, to the Department of Finance, and the Legislature pursuant to Section 9795 of the Government Code, a summary of the fees adopted or rescinded in the prior academic year, and the uses of proposed and currently implemented fees.

(g) For purposes of this section, a "student success fee" is a type of category II campus-based mandatory fee that is required to be paid by a student before that student may enroll or attend a campus of the California State University, as determined by that campus or the Chancellor of the California State University.

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