Myth Busted: Cost to attend CSU has increased in recent years

If repeated enough, myths can tend to be perceived as truth. And when it comes to the proposed tuition increase CSU Trustees are considering later this month, myths abound.

Here’s one of the most common: “We haven’t raised tuition in five years.”


Here are the facts:

  • While tuition has remained flat, mandatory campus-based fees have gone up by an average of 58% since 2010, according to the CSU Budget Office. These fees are not covered by Cal Grants or State University Grants.
  • In 2000, CSU tuition was $1,428. This proposed tuition hike isn’t simply a 5% increase; the Board of Trustees has voted to raise tuition at almost every opportunity in the last 20 years by a total of more than $4,000—over 300%.
  • CSU campuses increase mandatory fees, even when systemwide tuition stays flat.

As Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said during the Jan. 31 CSU Trustees meeting, these fees range from “the modest to the absurd.”

For example, campus fees are $841 per year at Fresno State, and at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, they have soared to $3,603 per year.

The proposal to further increase costs to students also has prompted legislation aimed at halting the hikes.

Last week, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and CFA held a joint news conference at Sacramento State announcing AB 393, legislation introduced by Quirk-Silva that would place a moratorium on tuition and fee increases in the CSU and the state’s public community colleges until 2020.

“California needs one million more college graduates to fill the workforce gap. Yet, we are not even close to funding public higher education at levels needed to accomplish that goal,” she told reporters Feb. 21.