CSU chancellor defends fee increase recommendation
May 7, 2009 5:00 PM
In a phone conference with CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed on Thursday, Reed defended his recommendation to increase student fees next semester by giving only one alternative; to shut CSU campus' doors and to stop paying the electric bill.
"We are facing nothing short of an economic meltdown," said Reed. "California could be facing as much as a 16 or 17 billion dollar deficit. We can not expect the legislature to do anything but cut. They will not raise any more taxes."
Reed will recommend a fee increase of $306 to the Board of Trustees next week, which would raise full-time undergraduate fees to $3,354 per year. The University of California Board of Regents have already approved a 9.3 percent increase in their student fees this week.
Along with the tuition increase, the CSU system is tightening its belts by reducing spending and cutting travel, according to Reed. He has also frozen the salaries of vice president level positions and higher and implemented a hiring freeze on non-essential positions earlier this spring.
And it still won't be enough. Students should "anticipate continued large classes and struggling to get classes," as well as a reduction in student services and maintenance, said Reed.
He did mention one "a glimmer of hope" to this gloomy financial forecast: the fact that President Obama plans to increase the maximum amount of Pell Awards by $619.
Leroy Morishita, vice president and chief financial officer at SF State, said the sheer magnitude of the deficit is hard to imagine. At its lowest, California has a new $10 billion deficit.
"If you just had the $10 billion problem, California could eliminate the UC and CSU systems completely from its budget and still not have it fixed," Morishita said.
As anticipated, SF State students are unhappy about the proposed increase.
"Yes the schools are poor, but we're poor too," said Jairo Gomez, 19. "It really depends on how you look at the big picture. I don't think increasing tuition is going to help much."
Gomez even suggested that fee increases might hurt the CSU system financially if students opt out of the university and go to community college instead.
Taylor Nairn had only two words when she learned of the proposed increase. "That sucks."
Narin does not qualify for financial aid and receives no financial support from her family. "I pay for school entirely by myself," she said.
"Working full-time, you have to go to school part-time, and it takes that much longer."
The environmental science major has been at SF State for six years and has seen five fee increases. "That's a lot of money," she said.
Reed said there are many financial aid programs in place that will reduce impact on student wallets, and encouraged students to meet with their financial aid department regularly.
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