Trustees to consider burdening students with additional tuition increase

The CSU Board of Trustees will be meeting next week to discuss the state budget shortfall and among the proposals to buffer the system’s finances is to raise student tuition by 4 percent.

The discussion will be held as part of an information item during Tuesday afternoon’s Committee on Finance.

Trustees will discuss whether to increase tuition for all students by 4 percent, which would spike annual tuition to $5,970. The increase would amount to an additional $228 per resident undergraduate student.

Faculty and students plan to speak against the proposal during next week’s meeting. The proposed tuition increase could be voted upon at the next Trustees meeting in March.

“Students are not ‘solutions’ to this administration’s short-sighted lack of leadership,” said Molly Talcott, CFA’s Associate Vice President South and a Sociology Professor at Cal State LA.

“These are real people, with real financial constraints of their own, and continually burdening them with fee increases when the state fails to properly fund the CSU is morally bankrupt. This administration needs to take a lesson from the faculty and fight alongside us for additional state funding for the CSU.”

Earlier this month, CFA blasted Chancellor Tim White and Trustees in an open letter for failing to request enough funding to support the CSU for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The Board requested just $263 million in additional state funds. Gov. Jerry Brown announced in his 2018-19 budget plan that the CSU would receive a paltry $92.1 million in additional funds, shortchanging all students in the People’s University, many of whom are already living on the economic margins and who are increasingly students of color.

The lowball funding may also be a response to CSU administrative bloat and lack of oversight for campus budgets,  which the state auditor highlighted in a scathing report released last spring.

CFA is calling for an additional $422.6 million in state funding for the CSU, which would allow for healthy enrollment growth and provide access to the CSU for an additional 18,205 students.

Last academic year, more than 31,000 qualified students were denied admission to the CSU.

At the Trustees meeting next week, the Board also will discuss state budget implications, enrollment management requirements, and the CSU’s operating budget for the next fiscal year.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, an Ex-Officio CSU Trustee, has said that he opposes any tuition increase. “To start, it lets the Legislature off the hook of addressing the state’s underfunding of public higher ed,” Rhys Williams, Newsom’s spokesman, told the LA Times, in an article about the potential tuition increase UC regents are considering.

The meeting, which will be held at the Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach, is open to the public and will be streamed online here.