Governor Proposes CSU Fee Increases
UC System Might also be Affected
January 25, 2007 4:28 PM
Students of the California State University and University of California systems may be upset to see yet another year with significant increases to their yearly fees.
Last Wednesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a state budget that included CSU fees increased by about 10 percent, and a UC tuition raise of about seven percent for the 2007-08 school year.
For the 23 CSU campuses, the increases will bring the yearly fees to $3,024 while UC will see tuition rise to roughly $6,571 per year.
For some students, these increases will mean an even further strain on an already difficult situation. Yaa Enin, a post-baccalaureate pre-med student at SF State, said higher fees will mean less time devoted to school as she has to work more to support herself.
“For those of us who have to pay our own way and aren’t getting complete financial aid, it’s too hard. We already have to work on top of school, and it’s getting impossible,” said Enin, 24. “I don’t even really want to think about it. As it is, I’ll only be taking one or two classes this semester just so I can work. What will we do when we have even more to pay just to get an education?”
Fees at the two public university systems have been raised by 76 percent since 2002, but last year the governor provided financial support from the general fund that offset the cost to students without losing the money that would have come from fee increases. This year, however, such a solution was noticeably absent from the governor’s budget.
There is still a chance that Schwarzenegger may offer an option such as the buy-out he provided last year. According to the San Jose Mercury-News, students will plan to appeal to legislators to secure just such a solution to the increases. In addition, the fee hikes still have to be approved by the state legislature, a long process during which much can change, according to Paul Browning, media relations specialist at the CSU Chancellor’s office.
“It’s still so early, we can’t tell yet what the outcome of this will be,” said Brown. “It’s still possible that funding could be provided from somewhere else, we just don’t know. But we will definitely try to figure out something.”
One thing is for sure, the money has to come from somewhere. Browning said the state has cut funding to the CSU by over $800 million in the last three years. The 76 percent fee increases students saw from 2002 to 2005 were necessary to compensate for such a huge cut.
“Student fees are part of the mix of CSU revenue, with the state being the largest ‘partner’ in CSU funding,” he said. “Fee increases are necessary if the state does not provide sufficient resources to adequately fund the university and its operations. One-third of the revenues from student fee increases are dedicated to financial aid grants for the neediest students.”
Still, the prospect of yet another increase in fees is daunting to some students. Meg Eisaeian, 24, who graduated from SF State last spring with a degree in psychology and is now looking at CSU for grad school, is worried about more debt when she gets out of school.
“I want to be able to focus on the intense workload of graduate classes without thinking about how I’m going to pay all this off after college,” she said. “I want to think about getting a job I like, not just a job that will pay off my loans.”
Enin was also anxious about paying off the money she has borrowed for school, and increased fees only made her more nervous.
“Since I graduated, I’ve been trying to find a job in my field, but I haven’t been able to,” Enin said. “Students are more in debt when they graduate now than ever before. If the job market doesn’t support our financial obligations when we get out of school, where’s the incentive to even go to college? It’s like we’re going to school to get better jobs, but school is putting us in such debt, those jobs are only serving to pay off school.”
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