Opposition to the Proposed Tuition Increase in the California State University (CSU)
That the ASCSU urge the California Legislature to provide adequate funding necessary to support CSU operations and deliver quality education to its students; and be it further
That the ASCSU join the California State Student Association (CSSA), the California Faculty Association (CFA), and those CSU campus senates that have opposed the currently proposed tuition increase; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU and CSSA continue to work with partners across the CSU system to engage in sustained joint advocacy to secure adequate state funding; and be it further
That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to the CSU Board of Trustees, CSU Chancellor, Senate President pro Tempore of the California State Legislature, Speaker of the California State Assembly, Chair of the California Senate Education Committee, Chair of the California Senate Budget Committee, Chair of the California Assembly Higher Education Committee, Chair of the California Assembly Budget Committee, CSU campus Presidents, CSU campus Senate Chairs, California State Student Association (CSSA), California Faculty Association (CFA), and the CSU Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association (CSUERFA).
RATIONALE: California’s future – as the report of the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Sustainable Financial Model for the CSU1 suggests—depends on having a well-educated workforce, and as an institution, the CSU must make sure it is fulfilling its obligation to the state. Still, the CSU continues to be underfunded. The Governor’s recent allocation of $157.2 million in new funding to the CSU in his January budget proposal falls short by $168.8 million of the $346 million requested in the CSU Board of Trustees’ September 2016 preliminary budget request to fund major priority needs of the CSU.2
In the face of continued state underfunding, a sustainable approach to tuition increases, as the Sustainable Financial Model Task Force Report goes on to suggest, remains one of the ways in which the CSU may continue to meet this obligation in the long term in the absence of predictable, continuing, and adequate state support. Because the CSU faces inflationary cost increases each year (health care, retirement, facility and construction, library materials, energy, salary, and others), the Report concludes, extended periods without tuition increases are not sustainable without increases in state appropriation to support operations and to continue to provide quality education to fulfill the University’s mission. Predictable, incremental, measured, reasonable adjustments to tuition remain one of the options to help maintain the University’s financial health, quality, and purchasing power and enable long-term planning for both the CSU, its students and their families.
As indicated in the CSU Chancellor’s proposal to the California State Students Association on September 29, 2016, a potential increase in tuition of 5 percent would generate approximately $77.7 million of new revenue in 2017-18. In addition, tuition remains one of the major sources of financial aid (State University Grants). More than 60 percent of all CSU undergraduates have their tuition fully covered by grants and waivers and would not be affected by a tuition increase.
This said, the ASCSU position, as spelled out in this resolution, is that sudden, unpredictable, and substantive tuition increases are not the preferred way of fixing gaps in state funding for the CSU in the long term. Still, a potential tuition increase is an option of last resort when inadequate state funding threatens to erode the mission of the CSU and the quality of the education it provides.
Approved – January 26-27, 2017
1 “A Financial Model to Support the Future of the California State University”—Report of the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Sustainable Financial Model for the CSU, The California State University, May 9, 2016.
2 A request the ASCSU supported in its resolution AS-3273-16/FGA Support for the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees (BOT) 2017-18 Budget Request (November 3-4, 2016).