Students celebrate Chancellor’s cancellation of tuition increase this year

CSU students are celebrating the news, issued last Friday, that CSU Chancellor Timothy White will not pursue a student tuition increase for the 2018-19 Academic Year starting July 1.

Kelsey Baird, a sociology student at CSU San Marcos, who took the long bus ride from San Diego County to Sacramento on April 4 to campaign for greater state funding for the CSU, was happy on hearing the news

She said, “This goes to show how important it is that students and faculty band together and make our voices heard. It’s really kind of astonishing that we got something that we fought for.”

Isaiah Avila-De La Cruz, a CSU East Bay student who also traveled to the Capitol April 4, echoed Baird’s comment saying, “This victory is a testament to the amazing power students and faculty have when we work together.”

The Chancellor’s decision comes just two weeks after the April 4 Rally at the State Capitol, when some 1,000 students, faculty and supporters called on the Governor and lawmakers to provide the public funding the CSU needs to educate California’s students.

The event, organized by CFA and Students for Quality Education, included speeches from the top leaders of the state legislature—Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins—as well the Chancellor, two Trustees, other legislators and many CSU students and faculty. (See a video collage of the April 4 Rally.)

The CSU Trustees had been considering a vote on increasing student tuition at their upcoming May 15-16 meeting. CFA has consistently argued that CSU administrators and Trustees must stop relying on students to make up losses in state funding through tuition increases. As documented in CFA’s paper Equity Interrupted, state funding has declined and tuition has climbed in sync with CSU coming to serve a student body that is predominantly students-of-color and lower-income.

“The trend of disinvestment needs to be turned around so that our students today have the same opportunities that CSU students had 30 years ago when fees were very low, tuition was non-existent, and the students were mostly white,” says CFA President Jennifer Eagan.

Eagan added, “We appreciate that the Chancellor took the tuition increase off the table, recognizing that ‘it was the right thing to do.’ Together we must fight for the funding the CSU really needs to educate our students. All of us standing shoulder to shoulder sends the right message.”

According to a CSU news release, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon lauded the decision as “good news,” a message that bodes well for further funding—if the pressure continues.

“CSU students, faculty, staff and leaders have made a strong case for additional funding—and they are being heard,” Rendon said. He promised to “carry this commitment into the budget discussions” when leaders of the Assembly and Senate negotiate with Governor Brown to hammer out a finished 2018-19 state budget, most likely in June.

PHOTO: April 4 Rally for the CSU at the State Capitol. Photo by Michael Henderson, CSU San Marcos.