Myth: “Tuition increase is insignificant; just work another hour a week”—Not!

Last week CFA Headlines busted the mythical claim that tuition has not gone up in five years.  Of course it has, but it was cleverly called “fees” to confuse the gullible.

This week let’s tackle the fallacy of size, that is, how much does another hour of work weigh on students.

Fact: There already aren’t enough hours in the day for many students. 20 to 24 year-olds already spend an average of four hours a day working. What’s more, for every one hour spent in class, it’s expected that students spend another two hours outside of class studying or doing homework.

Fact: Three out of four students in the CSU are already working 20+ hours per week.

Fact: One additional hour of work per week is associated with a decrease in GPA for that term.  Students who work more are spending less time studying and less time in classes [5], as well as performing worse on exams [6]. Longer hours working also increases the chances a student will drop out of college.

Fact: According to the CSU Chancellor’s Office, a “student would have to work approximately 33 additional hours per academic year – equivalent to 1 hour per week” to cover the tuition increase. Should students be forced to work more just to cover higher tuition when many are already barely making it? Even worse, ccording to a CSU-conducted study, one out of 10 students are homeless and one in 5  don’t have steady access to food.  CSU campuses have food pantries for students struggling with food insecurity.

Fact: The increasing cost of college means students are working longer hours. This actually increases their time to graduation since they have less time for their coursework.

Despite the claim made at the January Trustees meeting that students merely need to cut back on dry cleaning, going to the movies all the time, and eating out—comments that drew thumbs down from the students observing the meeting—every extra hour of work weighs on today’s students’ prospects. (See the comments on video at 1:38:00 and 1:40:20; the students are off-camera.)

The proposal to further increase costs to students also has prompted legislation aimed at halting the hikes. Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and CFA have announced AB 393, to freeze tuition and state-wide fee increases in the CSU and the community colleges through June 2020.