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CSU system OKs multi-year tuition hike

Tuition for California State University students will increase by 6% annually for five years beginning in 2024-25 following the approval of a proposal passed Wednesday by the university’s Board of Trustees.

The annual undergraduate tuition for CSU will increase from the current $5,742 to $6,084 in the 2024-25 school year. The total would jump to $6,450 the following year, then to $6,840 in 2026-27, then to $7,248 and ultimately to $7,682 in 2028-29.

“State general fund and student tuition revenue are the two primary sources that support the university’s annual operating budget plan and the educational endeavors of approximately 460,000 CSU students,” according to a staff report outlining the proposed tuition increase. “To support the expenditure priorities of the budget plan, it would require a significant infusion of new, ongoing revenue from the state general fund and from a tuition increase. But the amounts of new revenue forecasted (state general fund) and proposed (tuition), will not be sufficient to fully support the new expenditures included in this plan.”

According to the staff report, the tuition increase will generate an additional $148 million in the 2024-25 academic year.

The CSU – which is the largest public four-year university system in the country – was initially considering implementing an ongoing 6% tuition hike, but opted to limit the proposal to five years after vocal opposition from students and some members of the Board of Trustees who said it would create significant financial hardship for students amid the rising cost of living and housing.

University officials said revenue increases are needed to cover a roughly $1.5 billion budget shortfall. CSU officials told reporters earlier this month said the university has already implemented steep cost-cutting measures, but without additional revenue, it could be forced to cut course offerings or other services.

The university also notes that more than half of CSU students have either part or all of their tuition covering by grants or scholarships.

There were protests by student and other groups to oppose the tuition measure. On Monday, a group of CSU student assistants had a virtual event, saying they already earn sub-minimum-wage pay and will be overly burdened by an ongoing rate hike.

“Working-class students come to the CSU hoping to build a better future for themselves,” John Logan, professor and director of Labor and Employment Studies at San Francisco State University, said in a statement.

“Student assistants work because they need the money to get by. Not only are they paid minimum wage without benefits, their financial insecurity is now compounded by tuition increases. CSU leadership must allow them a choice on a union and collective bargaining, which would improve their financial security and access to education.”

The California Faculty Association union called the proposed tuition hike a “shocking and unconscionable” measure that would bump student costs by 34% over the five-year period.

Students from Cal State Sacramento issued a statement blasting the tuition proposal, while pointing to executive compensation paid by the CSU system, noting the $795,000 annual salary of new CSU Chancellor Mildred Garcia.

“The CSU is essentially asking students who are already at a disadvantage to pay for the CSU Chancellor’s Office and Board of Trustees’ decades of mismanagement and misuse of funds, increasing the likelihood of fewer marginalized and underrepresented students enrolling in and graduating from college,” according to the statement.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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