The California State University Student Fee Policy

AS-2328-96/AA - May 9-10, 1996

RESOLVED:That while the Academic Senate of the California State University continue to take no position on the policy of the Board of Trustees to raise student fees to a fixed percentage of the annual cost of education, the Academic Senate CSU, with the exceptions stated below as modifications, endorse the proposed California State University Student Fee Policy which does the following:

1. clearly defines fee categories,

2. delegates limited authority to campus presidents to alter existing campus fees,

3. improves the campus consultative process for adjusting or establishing fees,

4. augments student financial aid for new or increased campus mandatory fees,

5. limits total mandatory fees, and

6. mandates annual Trustees’ review of fee levels and ranges;

and be it further

RESOLVED:That the Academic Senate CSU urge the Board of Trustees to approve the proposed California State University Student Fee Policy with the following modifications:

1. That the range of campus differential fees be kept as low as possible and that provision be made in the policy statement Section IV for the consideration of the range of campus mandatory fees as intended in Basic Assumption 3 of the May 14-15, Committee on Finance, agenda item; "Some differential among campus mandatory fee levels is appropriate. However, the range of differential fees should be considered now [emphasis added] and reviewed annually by the board as a significant policy issue."

2. Indicate in Section IV-A, whether systemwide or campus mandatory fees must be reduced in the event that total mandatory fees, at some future date, are projected to exceed one-third of the systemwide cost of education due to an increase in either statewide or campus mandatory fees under this policy;

3. Revise Section III.A.6. as follows: The campus president shall appoint members to the committee excluding the student representatives who shall be appointed by the campus associated students organization. Faculty members shall be appointed consistent with normal campus senate processes for selecting faculty members to serve on similar committees.

4. Revise Section IV. to include an item "C" as follows: A systemwide study at the end of the third year of operation (and every subsequent year) shall be conducted to determine the impact of this policy on student access, equity, affordability and quality;

and be it further

RESOLVED:That the Academic Senate CSU express its appreciation to the Chancellor and his staff for the effective process of consultation that this policy document reflects.

RATIONALE: The proposed California State University Student Fee Policy includes several key features that should improve the process of setting fees including the following:

1. Fee categories are more clearly defined.

2. The authority to increase, decrease or abolish certain fees is decentralized to campus presidents, allowing campuses, if they choose, to consolidate existing fees. The authority to establish new campus fees is delegated to the Chancellor and the authority to establish or change systemwide mandatory fees is retained by the Board of Trustees.

3. The campus consultation process for adjusting or establishing fees, is improved through the creation of a fee advisory committee with broad representation and the expectation of an advisory student referendum.

4. Consultation on adjusting or establishing fees, and the allocation of fee revenue is further broadened by specific reference to campus academic senates and campus associated students organizations.

5. To mitigate the effects of increases in campus mandatory fees upon access, campuses must provide an amount equivalent to one-third of the revenue from new or increased fees for financial aid programs.

6. Total mandatory fees, systemwide and campus, are limited.

7. The Board of Trustees will annually review the level and range of fees across campuses as a significant policy issue.

The Academic Senate supports these elements of the policy. However, the Academic Senate believes that the policy fails to address significant policy issues.

1. At present, full-time student fees range from $1,700 (San Marcos) to $2,110 (Sonoma) a spread of $410. Thus, students at Sonoma pay over 24 percent more for their education than do the students at San Marcos. The Academic Senate believe that the Board of Trustees should provide firm policy guidance on this significant issue at the inception of this fee policy. The Academic Senate urge that this range of differential fees be kept as low as possible so as to provide equal financial access for all students within a system of predominantly regional universities.

2. The current average full-time student fee ($1,891) is $1,009 less than one-third the current annual cost of education (~$2,900). Given the current mood of the general public, key segments of the state legislature, and constituencies within the CSU, it will likely be many years before total mandatory fees approach one-third the annual cost of education. However, when that occurs, a significant policy issue will arise caused by the division of authority to approve increases in mandatory fees. Should the projected sum of systemwide and campus mandatory fees exceed the one-third annual cost of education limit, which class of fees predominates?

When the one-third cap is reached, even in the distant future, the question will be raised as to the original intent of the Board of Trustees. The Academic Senate believes that the Board should provide guidance on this issue at this time or otherwise state how the issue should be resolved in the future.

3. These amendments seek to ensure an effective faculty voice in setting campus fee policy by securing independent faculty selection by the appropriate senate body.

4. Students, faculty and external constituencies have expressed concern over the potential impact of rising fees on student access. This resolution proposes a mechanism to monitor the actual impact for the purpose of making any necessary corrections to the policy.

APPROVED -- May 9-10, 1996

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