To the collective detriment of students and the California State University, trustees today approved a plan to raise student tuition by 6 percent a year over the next five years.

The hike compounds and amounts to a 34 percent increase by the 2028-29 school year. This misguided and ill-informed idea will price out current and potential students – especially those who identify as Black, brown, immigrant, low-income, and/or first-generation college students.

Public higher education shouldn’t be a debt sentence. CSU trustees shouldn’t be pushing the burden of their financial mismanagement onto the backs of students.

Overpaid CSU executives – who have little to no contact with students – claim that higher tuition won’t harm students because of the existence of financial aid. They somehow believe that a high-fee/high-aid model of higher education is fair and equitable.

Research shows that students of color and those from low-income families bear the largest burden of student debt. CSU management’s financial aid argument is a disingenuous distraction to dismiss the large amounts of students living on the fringes of stability, who are housing and food insecure.

Increasing tuition only ensures the CSU will become less diverse and more exclusive serving only those able to afford the price of attendance.

CSU trustees and administrators proclaim a commitment to supporting “Black student excellence,” promoting graduation rates through their “Graduation Initiative,” and operating out of a “culture of care.” This tuition increase prices out many Black and brown working class families, decreases graduation rates, and shows no care for students.

CSU management’s actions reveal their true commitments. Management continues their decades of budget mismanagement and misuse of funds while claiming this tuition increase is necessary for their financial sustainability. There’s never any money to fairly compensate faculty and staff for their tireless dedication to student success and always a made-up budget hole to justify unfair costs to students.

A vote for this proposed tuition increase reveals that trustees and administrators are out of touch with the lived realities of students and their families and the long-term well-being of the CSU and public higher education in California.

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