Trustees considering another tuition hike
November 2, 2010 8:08 PM
To many students, the spring 2011 semester offered the prospect of a brighter horizon. With the budget signed, the California State University system was granted $366 million that will allow an additional 30,000 students to enter campuses statewide in the spring.
However, another potential fee increase from the CSU could raise tuition by 15 percent and put further strain on the pockets of students.
"I'm so close to dropping out, I think about it everyday," said Molly Martin, 23, a creative writing major at SF State. "I'm screwed because I've got another year-and- a-half and my loans keep getting cut in half while tuition goes up."
If approved, the 15 percent increase will come in two parts.
First, students will be faced with a 5 percent increase for the spring 2011 semester. This would amount to about $105 more for the average full-time undergraduate student per semester.
Tuition will then increase an additional 10 percent in the fall, costing students an additional $222.
If the tuition hike is passed, CSU students will pay a total of $654 more per year.
Like Martin, many consider the thought of paying more for an education that costs nearly double what it did only five years ago a truly terrifying idea.
Still, others see the increase as a necessary evil.
"I understand the logic behind increasing the fees again," said Travis Northup, vice president of external affairs for ASI. "The budget that the governor signed said we need a 10 percent fee increase, but it was signed so late that we weren't able to raise fees this semester."
Because of this, Northup believed the administration had no choice other than to raise tuition by more than 10 percent to backfill the amount of money lost by not increasing fees this semester.
"Fee increases suck but they're the only thing keeping our classes open," Northup said.
According to Erik Fallis, media relations specialist with the Chancellor's office, the 5 percent increase set for the Spring is more than likely going to happen.
However, the 10 percent increase may be avoided if the governor and state legislature agree to "buy out" the fee increase for $121.5 million.
"The total we're going to ask for will be higher than that amount," Fallis said. "We still need to restore where we were before the budget cuts of the last couple of years."
He said although the $365 million the state provided in its budget would help, it only brought the CSU budget to where it was in 2005.
"We were fortunate to get a partial restoration, but we have a much higher student population now than we did then," said Fallis. "We are hoping to avoid the tuition increase entirely, but two-thirds of our funding comes from the state of California. We want students to be prepared and have the information ahead of time as to what the tuition level will be if the buy out doesn't happen."
Moreover, of the $366 million provided by the state, $106 million is a one time only grant provided by federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus money.
Ellen Griffin, director of University communications, said raising fees is not the University's ideal course of action.
However, she saw it as necessary to avoid the same problems students faced last spring in terms of being able to enroll in classes or attend a CSU in general.
"We regret that fees have to increase, but had no choice because we had expected the legislature and governor to provide a permanent increase in funding," Griffin said. "We hope to enroll more students, and offer more course sections and seats that will allow students to carry a higher unit load, and progress more steadily toward graduation."
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