By Julie Mana-Ay
After hours of dispute highlighted by enraged shouts and complaints from student protesters and professors, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a tuition hike for undergraduate programs, credential programs, and graduate and other post-baccalaureate programs for the upcoming school year.
In a meeting held Wednesday, March 22, the Board of Trustees voted 11 to 8 to increase tuition to fill a looming gap in state funding.
The board raised tuition for undergraduate programs by $270, credential programs by $312 and graduate programs by $438.
CSU Bakersfield third-year biology major Jose Gonzalez said he believes a tuition hike is not the way to go.
“It isn’t the answer,” said Gonzalez. “Students pay enough tuition as it is and possibly withholding an education from someone is awful. The board should definitely look into alternatives for funding. There is no future without students.”
Students from multiple CSU campuses gathered in the Dumke Auditorium at the Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach, California where student protesters chanted “the more we pay, the longer we stay” and “no justice and shame” to the members of the board as they approved and amended the tuition increase proposal for next school year.
This tuition increase is the first since 2011.
In 2011, the CSU Board of Trustees voted 9 to 6 to increase the tuition by 9 percent for the 2012-2013 school year. The increase raised tuition at the 23-campus system by $498.
During the meeting, CSU board members went back and forth about the result of a tuition increase.
Members of the board understood that a rise in tuition would take students more time to graduate, spending less time on campus and taking less classes because students would have to work more to afford their education.
Chairman of the board’s finance committee Peter J. Taylor said there is “zero joy” when it comes to a tuition hike amongst the CSU system.
“Would we be sitting here talking about the tuition increase if the state actually met these funding requests?” said Taylor.
Taylor went on and mentioned the chancellor considers this item, how the state should fund for CSU, and how the state has not supported the CSU the way it should.
“We’re here because the state has consistently, persistently under-funded this institution. And it’s an embarrassment that we’re stuck with this choice of access and quality,” he said.
Students like senior economics major Taryn Calderon are concerned about the tuition raise.
“I don’t think it is fair for students to receive this hike in tuition cost, especially those who do not receive financial aid or any sort of help from their parents or the government,” Calderon said.
Calderon said a tuition raise will affect students tremendously in the future.
“We could see future generations of students become discouraged and the admission of students may decrease within the next couple years,” she said.
Gonzalez said he thinks the tuition hike is discouraging to his education.
“I can’t just abandon my education now. It might discourage others from even beginning an education, which is a bad road,” said Gonzalez.
The board’s alumni trustee John Nilon, who is a CSUB alumnus, mentioned the maintenance of the CSU and increasing the quality
“I hope all of you speak even louder to the state legislature,” he said during the meeting.
Gesturing to his fellow board members Nilon encouraged protesters to continue speaking out against the increase.
“I hope you can get these fine folks [Board of Trustees] to back you and provide not just what we want but the $400 million we have not received over this period of time. I am convinced that if you do that, tuition increases will be a thing of the past.”
Nilon added the board has to govern and make decisions and therefore he voted for the tuition increase.
Members like Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who voted against the increase, challenged the trustees to put pressure back on the state lawmakers.
Newsom said they were doing the job of the legislature and the governor.
He advises student protesters, professors, lawmakers and fellow trustees that if they want something to change, they have to do something differently.
“We’ve got to make decisions. And I think a smart decision we’ve got to make today is to say ‘no’ and to take the spirit of where it belongs,” he said. “We’re doing the biding of the legislature and the governor. It’s a public university, and we have got to say ‘enough.’ We’ve got to stand strong.”
Newsom said the board needs to find another way to get the money required.
“We need the money,” said Newsom. “We need to advocate for the money and say ‘no’ to this tuition increase.”
ASI Executive Vice President Alana Lim said this increase is doing students a disservice by putting pressure on them.
Lim said she feels disappointed in the decision because she said the board should be helping them succeed in school.
“If you’re so focused on making enough money to stay in school, how are you going to have time to focus on school and succeed in your classes?” said Lim. “In my mind, there’s still hope because we can advocate for the fully-funded CSU.”
Lim said she is trying to stay optimistic but she knows it’s going to be a lot of work from ASI’s end.
Thousands of CSU students will be required to pay higher education tuition rates next school year.
The CSU has a requirement for any vote on a tuition increase to take place at least 90 days before it goes into effect.
As for CSUB, President Horace Mitchell released a memorandum amongst the university on March 22, as he stated the CSU system will remain committed to keeping costs as low as possible for our students.
“In the coming weeks, we will continue to work with our CSU colleagues to ensure that full funding for CSU is a top legislative priority, and that we have the ongoing funding to address our critical needs,” he stated.