CSU System Raises Tuition by 15 Percent

The California State University system announced that it will raise tuition fees by 15 percent next year to sustain enrollment, classes and services for current students. This decision comes on the heels of an 8-percent UC fee increase proposed by UC President Mark G. Yudof on Nov. 8.

In a statement released last Wednesday, Nov. 10, the CSU Board of Trustees voted to charge an additional 5 percent — or $105 — for the spring semester for full-time undergraduate students, who currently pay $2,115 per semester. In addition, a 10-percent increase, which is $444, will go into effect for the 2011-12 academic year.
Students will pay an estimated $549 more for classes by Fall 2011, and tuition will rise from $4,440 to $4,884 a year. 

According to the Board of Trustees, this mid-year tuition increase will allow the CSU system to add about 3,000 courses for winter and spring 2011. The course number is expected to double next academic year.
San Diego State University’s A.S. Council President Grant Mack said that although students are upset at the increase, it hasn’t caused much public outcry.

“Everyone feels helpless,” Mack said. “What are we going to do? The state just says ‘Here’s how much money CSU gets. Figure it out.”

Approximately 180,000 students — which makes up half of undergraduates at the 23-campus system — will be covered by financial aid. About one third of revenue from the tuition increase will be set aside for financial aid in the form of State University grants, Cal Grants and fee waivers.

Students who are not fully covered by financial aid can use expanded federal tax credits, which are available for those with family incomes of up to $180,000.

“Students are really getting less for more,” CSU’s Executive Vice Chancellor of Business and Finance Benjamin Quillian said in a statement. “But these are hard times for California. While we appreciate the funding that we did receive in this year’s budget, the reality is our state support is roughly the same as it was five years ago and we have 25,000 more students.”

In January, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed state budget for 2010-11 assumed a 10-percent increase in CSU tuition.

In June, the CSU trustees adopted a 5-percent increase since they could not fund the remaining 5 percent.

Despite an approved October budget that restored $105 million in one-time federal stimulus funds, the CSU system is still about $64 million short.

The CSU system froze admission last year for spring applicants and, when comparing admissions figures for the CSU and UC systems between 2008 and 2009, CSU lost 3,954 students while UC gained 5,813. But the CSU system still enrolls more students overall. Last year, the system enrolled 433,054 students at all of their campuses, more than double the amount of registered students in the UC system.

Though UC tuition is still more expensive than CSU tuition, CSU costs have nearly tripled since 2002; in these past eight years CSU fees remained consistent only in 2007. In the statement, CSU representatives said they are already planning to raise fees again next year.
UC Office of the President spokesperson Lynn Tierney said she doesn’t think differences in UC and CSU tuitions will affect new applicants.

“It isn’t money that makes you decide on a school,” Tierney said. “It’s based on the career you want. Students don’t choose a school based on how much it costs.”

Mack disagreed.

“I like SDSU a lot, but one of the primary reasons I decided to go here was because it’s cheaper,” he said.

CSU officials said that if the governor approves adequate funding for the next budget, they will rescind the tuition increase.