The Daily Aztec

CSU Trustees to vote on $270 tuition increase

Kelly Smiley, Photo Editor

Kelly Smiley, Photo Editor

by Adriana Millar, Assistant News Editor

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The CSU Board of Trustees will vote whether to raise tuition by $270 per academic year today, March 22.

In January, Governor Jerry Brown released the first draft of the 2017-2018 state budget, which included a $157.2 million increase in funding, which is $167.7 million less than CSU trustees requested.

The Trustees originally asked for additional state funding of  $324.9 million to meet its graduation rate goals, offer more courses, hire more faculty and provide additional academic and student support services, according to the March 2017 CSU budget update.

To cover this shortfall, CSU trustees are voting on a tuition increase of $270 for resident undergraduates, raising the cost of tuition to $5,742.

According to the CSU budget update, similar adjustments are proposed for non-resident tuition, as well as graduate, doctoral and teacher credential programs.

The potential increase will create an additional $77.5 million of net revenue, one-third of which would be set aside for student financial aid, according to the CSU budget update.

“This revenue would go to student success initiatives and CSU campuses would be able to hire approximately 400 new faculty members and offer an additional 3,000 of the most highly demanded courses,” the budget update states.

The proposed increase would not affect the CSU’s neediest students, according to the budget update.

Most CSU students with household incomes below $70,000 rely on financial aid to pay for tuition, according to the update.

It says in 2015-16 nearly 63 percent of all undergraduates — more than 255,000 students — had their tuition fully covered by grants or waivers, which do not need to be repaid.

If enacted, the tuition raise will be the first since the 2010-2011 school year.

According to the CSU budget update, the CSU will also engage in advocacy efforts leading up to the state’s final budget decisions.

CSU Public Affairs Manager Elizabeth Chapin said the CSU has an advocacy office in Sacramento.

“The staff there in coordination with campus legislative liaisons, students, alumni, campus leaders (presidents, etc.) will be meeting with state legislators during this time, urging them to advocate for increased funding to the CSU in the state budget,” she said in an email March 21.

Current Associated Students Executive Vice President of External Affairs Dylan Colliflower said he is also planning advocacy events on-campus until the budget is finalized by the governor. He is also currently working on a video for students that will explain the CSU budgeting process.

“It is important to get the word out because not enough students know about the potential tuition increase,” he said in an email on March 20. “Also, even if the tuition increase will not have a significant effect on you, it will impact plenty of other students who are seeking to better themselves through education.”

Colliflower said students can advocate for themselves by calling their legislator and telling them why they should support a fully funded CSU.

“Also sharing the hashtag #ChooseCSU on social media will help spread the message of the tuition increase and legislators and the governor will take note of the widespread breadth of the message,” he said.

He said he thinks funding for the CSU has been a recurring problem that the state and the Board of Trustees have not been able to solve, despite years of trying to develop a sustainable funding model.

“I think that the CSU is facing mandatory cost increases and the only way to survive (them) is by raising revenues and or making cuts.” he said.  “I think that the government has steadily disinvested in the CSU over the last 20 years and that students have unfairly been forced to make up that slack.”

International business junior Jose Hernandez said he was not aware of the possible tuition increase. He said as a commuter student, a tuition increase would affect his expenses throughout the semester.

“So I have to rethink what I actually purchase, (and) make sure that I just do the best to reduce the cost for textbook supplies and stuff like that,” he said. “It’s a lot of things that students need to think of before they actually try to consider how much units they’re going take per semester.”

Hernandez said the CSU should look at all viable options before increasing tuition.

“Because I know that it’s really costly for students to attend the university, even though this is one of the best schools to go for education like this,” he said.

Director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships Rose Pasenelli said her office has not had more students asking how a potential increase will affect them.

“We have not put out any publications yet because it isn’t final,” she said.

She said once a decision is made, the office will update its website and adjust financial aid accordingly.

“It makes it difficult for us because we just went out with the awards for ‘17-18 (school year) last week, so any type of fee increase would change what we send out so we have to go back and revise all the awards,” she said.

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