Rising cost of higher education


Graph by Javier Valdes/The Runner

Emily Amparan


At its meeting last week, the California State University Board of Trustees decided to vote on a tuition increase for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year after receiving less than half of the requested funding from the state government.

If passed, the tuition of every CSU student would increase by 5 percent, taking the cost from $5,472 to $5,742.

This proposal follows the decision to raise UC tuition by 2.5 percent, resulting in the first increase since 2011.

With the additional $270 per CSU student, the state plans to make up $77.7 million of the $167.7 million that is absent from the original $324.9 million that was requested from the state.

While the state, the Board of Trustees, and Gov. Jerry Brown are all in support of the rise in tuition to take effect next school year, CSU representatives – including CSU Bakersfield’s Associated Student Inc. and the California State Student Association, are all standing against this measure.

“We’re in a pretty good position compared to other CSU’s,” said ASI President Alex Dominguez. “What we’re doing is meeting with our local legislators to vote in our favor.”

Both California State Assemblyman Vince Fong and Sen. Jean Fuller have expressed their desire to help CSU Bakersfield, according to Dominguez. With their support, there is the chance that they could vote in the student’s favor against the tuition rise and start advocating for the rest of the Legislature to do the same.

For Dominguez and his team, this is an issue that has been discussed frequently, and is being taken seriously.

On March 11, Dominguez will be meeting with other CSSA members in Sacramento to discuss a plan to avoid the raise in tuition. Also, many of CSUB’s faculty members, including President Horace Mitchell, will be joining Dominguez at the state capitol to advocate for a fully-funded CSU.

While the final decision for the Tuition Adjustment Proposal is yet to be decided, the final vote will be made in March.

There still remain a large amount of students who are expressing their dissatisfaction throughout the state. Protests have taken place at several universities up and down California, including CSU Long Beach, San Diego State, and UC Berkeley.

With 90 percent of CSUB students receiving some kind of financial aid in the form of grants, loans and scholarships, 50 percent of these students have their tuition fully covered by Cal Grants, Pell Grants or scholarships.

This percentage of students will be unaffected by the potential increase in costs.

Financial Aid Associate Director Chad Morris clarifies that these students, while not guaranteed a dollar-per-dollar increase, will not have to worry about any extra funds coming out of pocket. This will leave the remaining 50 percent to figure out where and how they are going to acquire the additional money.

“I don’t want every cent I make to go toward school,” said business major and third year transfer student Brandon Dunn.

In addition to paying for tuition, students and their families also have to cover their rent, food and other utilities and expenses. With the extra costs added to the yearly tuition if the proposal is voted through, the financial situations of these students and families will be strained even further.

Graph by Javier Valdes/The Runner