Despite student protests, the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees authorized a plan for multi-year tuition increases on September 13 that will raise rates by six percent annually for five years. The Trustees argue the move is needed to help stabilize the university system’s financial situation.
The approved proposal will result in an increase in full-time undergraduate tuition of $342 per student starting in the academic year 2024-2025. The proposed tuition plan will expire at the end of 2028-2029, according to the Cal State website.
According to CSU Executive, Vice Chancellor, and Chief Financial Officer Steve Relyea, “The revenue from the tuition increase is essential to provide the CSU with the financial stability it needs to continue to serve students today, and in the future.”
Tuition has only been raised by five percent once in the last 12 years, and the income gained by the increase will help to close the CSU’s recurring and persistent budget gap between revenue and costs.
The CSU also stated that 60 percent of CSU undergraduate students whose tuition is fully covered by grants, scholarships, waivers, and other non-loan aid will not be affected by the increase, and another 18 percent will have the tuition increase partially paid through non-loan aid.
The tuition increase is projected to generate $148 million in revenue in the first year (‘24-’25), with $49 million going towards financial aid for students.
The priorities for the increased tuition revenue include increased funding for the state university grant program (SUG), academic and student services support, basic needs and mental health services, Title IX implementation, and ongoing costs, infrastructure, including new facilities, and ongoing maintenance, and compensation to attract and retain outstanding faculty and staff.
Students across CSU campuses have taken part in the strike to “Stop the Hike,” including locally at Cal State Northridge and Cal State Long Beach.
“I just started my first semester here at CSUN. I work at Starbucks in the morning, and an online freelance job in the evenings so I could take the burden off my dad’s shoulders,” said freshman Fabian Marquez. “Honestly, hearing this demotivated me to continue my degree because I can’t stop questioning if it’s worth stressing my parents out,” he continued.
School officials and students have expressed their sympathy across social media platforms like Instagram. After the news broke, Cal State Northridge’s primary advocate, Associated Students, shared a post on behalf of its president, Paige Hajiloo, stating “We are currently working on actionable solutions to decrease the burden this proposal will place on students.”
The Associated Students of CSU Northridge also added that 40 percent of CSU students will carry the burden of the tuition increase.
“I find it difficult to believe that CSU tries their best to ensure that tuition is affordable to all. How is it affordable to all if now we each have to pay six percent more every year?” stated CSUN sophomore Sarah Dawood. “Not all of us are lucky enough to qualify for financial aid. I’m an international student and I can’t even work here until after I graduate,” she added.
Photo by sshepard on iStockphoto.com