California Students to pay $474 more annually because of state budget crisis

(July 16, 2003) Trustees of the California State University voted Wednesday to increase undergraduate student fees by $474 and graduate fees by $522 annually. CSU board members said the university needs the additional revenue to preserve educational quality and student access as the system absorbs an anticipated cut of at least $330.2 million in its 2003-04 budget.

The increase brings the annual undergraduate state resident fee to $2,046 for the academic year commencing in fall 2003. Including the average campus-based fee of $498, the total annual undergraduate fee will be $2,544.

“We have worked through every imaginable scenario to implement these cuts with the least possible disruption to our students and our employees. But we have reached a point where the cuts are so deep that we have no choice but to take more dramatic action,” said Board of Trustees Chair Debra S. Farar. “This choice in no way reflects our commitment to the university’s promise of affordability and accessibility. In fact, the current budget crisis has made us even more determined to continue to fulfill the mission of the CSU.”

Even after the increase CSU’s undergraduate fees will continue to be the lowest in the nation when compared to similar public higher education institutions.

Under the new fee structure, graduate students will pay $2,256, and out-of-state undergraduate students would pay $11,004 beginning this fall.
“We are doing the very best to fulfill the mission of the CSU in the face of some very difficult challenges,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “But it is now the middle of July and we still do not have a budget. In fact, the CSU continues to be at risk and may face even deeper cuts ahead.”

The chancellor said that during the last 14 months the CSU has eliminated or frozen 2,300 positions. Faculty positions are forecast to be reduced by 3.9 percent while other employee positions will be reduced by 11 percent. The Chancellor’s Office has reduced its budget by 15 percent and the campuses will reduce their budgets by approximately 10 percent.

To cope with the fiscal impact of budget cuts, the CSU is planning to reduce enrollment growth by 2 percent. About 8,000 students will not be admitted to the CSU during the winter and spring terms. These students may reapply in fall 2004.

Several students voiced their concerns during the public comment period and asked the Trustees to vote no on the fee increase.

“We cannot avoid the reality of fee increases, but we are concerned with the magnitude of this one,” said CSU student Trustee Alex Lopez, adding that the fee increase will be severe for students who do not qualify for financial aid. He called for a unified front of CSU Trustees, administrators, faculty, and students in Sacramento to raise legislators’ awareness of the impact of cuts to the system. Many Trustees echoed his comments.

“This fee increase is the lesser of the two evils,” said faculty Trustee Harold Goldwhite. He added that when discussing the fee with students they said they would prefer to pay higher fees rather than see a reduction in classes.

Financially needy students will not be deeply impacted by the fee increase, as one-third of the revenue raised by the fee increase will be set aside for financial aid, according to long-standing board policy. After the fee increase is applied there will be $90.3 million increase in CSU State University Grants, and a $3.8 million increase in Cal Grants.

The Trustees approved the fee increase by a vote of 11 to 2, with Student Trustee Alex Lopez and Trustee Ricardo Icaza, casting the no votes.

Contact: Clara Potes-Fellow, 562-951-4806, cpotes-fellow@calstate.edu


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Last Updated: 17 July 2003

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