Gov. Vetoes Student Fee Cap
Schwarzenegger vetoes fee cap bill
September 23, 2004 6:29 PM
After months of contention, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill on Sep. 18 that would have created limits on fee increases for in-state UC and CSU students.
The legislation, which was approved by the state legislature, would have gradually adjusted student fees annually according to changes in California per capita income.
Under AB 2710, the UC and CSU systems would have been able to increase fees a maximum of only 8 percent a year, in the case of a dire fiscal state emergency.
For example, if the failed AB 2710 had been passed before this fiscal school year, undergraduate student fees would have been raised 8 percent instead of 14, as was the case this semester.
In a press statement released by the governor’s office, Schwarzenegger wrote, “I am returning this bill without a signature. This bill establishes a resident student fee policy that is inconsistent with the student fee policy provisions of the higher education compact that I reached with the University of California and California State University systems.”
During meetings with the governor in May, UC President Robert Dynes and CSU chancellor Charles Reed entered into a compact with Schwarzenegger. The agreement stipulates that the CSU and UC system leaders will accept temporary budget cuts in exchange for restored funding by the year 2011.
“The legislation does not support the compact,” said Bruce Hamlett, chief consultant of the State Assembly Higher Education Committee. “That is something between the governor and the CSU and UC presidents.”
The legislation was also the subject of debate since Assemblywoman Carol Liu introduced it in Feb. 2004.
Proponents, such as Hamlett, had lauded the bill as a way to keep down escalating school tuitions in the state.
“This would have treated students as customers with a choice,” Hamlett said, adding that it would have helped keep student costs from skyrocketing.
“We wanted to push that bill as a priority,” said Joshua Castro, vice president of external affairs of SF State’s Associated Students and member of the CSSA.
“Now that he’s vetoed it we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board with that particular policy. But we do want a long-term fee policy instituted so that students could be safe from any large and sudden increases in their student fees.”
Opponents of the AB 2710 bill were glad to hear of the governor’s veto. Both the CSU and UC system administrators had opposed the bill.
“We very satisfied with the decision,” said CSU spokesperson Clara Potes-Fellow. “Schwarzenegger agreed with us.”
According to UC office of the president spokesperson Abby Lunardini, the bill would have limited their abilities to maintain the UC system by making it harder for them to make their own choices about student’s fees.
“We requested a veto from the governor for (AB 2710),” said Lunardini. “It would cap fees without providing adequate support for funding.”
According to Hamlett, while AB 2710 would have limited the UC and CSU’s decision making, keeping student fee increases sensible was a main priority.
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