Student Fees Investigation: CSUB students pay big price for campus fees

Haydee Barahona, Editor-in-Chief

Graph by Haydee Barahona / The Runner
Graphic by Haydee Barahona / The Runner

Out of the 23 campuses in the California State University system, California State University, Bakersfield ranks ninth in total campus-based fees. Some of the highest fees charged to CSUB students are the Student Association, Student Center, and Instructionally Related Activities fees. 

According to the CSU website,, CSUB charges its students $1,895 in campus-based fees. 

Each CSU campus is authorized to charge its students campus-mandatory fees, also known as Category II fees, as part of their enrollment. 

Graphic by Haydee Barahona / The Runner

For the 2022-2023 school year, CSUB had the highest Student Association fee in the CSU system. CSUB charges each student a $419 Student Association fee, whereas the fee ranges from $54 to $368 for the other 22 CSU campuses, according to These fees are controlled by CSUB’s student government. 

CSUB also charges each student $870 in Student Center fees. These fees cover employee salaries, debt service, and construction of facilities such as the Student Union and Student Recreation Center, said Mike Uhlenkamp, senior director of strategic communications and public affairs for the CSU. 

Despite having the fourth-highest Student Center fee, CSUB has one of the smallest student union spaces in the CSU system.

CSUB’s student union is 27,800 square feet, according to square footage data provided by the CSU Chancellor’s Office. Meanwhile, the other 22 campus’s total student union spaces range from about 64,000 to 226,000 square feet. 

Graphic by Haydee Barahona / The Runner

In 2018, CSUB passed a referendum to expand its Student Union and add a new aquatic center that would charge students an increasing amount, $180, to contribute to the project. 

The CSU Student Fee Policy states that, before adjusting a Category II fee, a vote of students must take place to measure the support of the fee increase. 

“All of these are referendums that have happened, again, students have voted on them, and those continue to follow students to this day,” said Ilaria Pesco, executive director of ASI. 

CSUB also ranks twelfth in IRA fees, charging $183 to each student.  

Athletics and fine arts are outlined in the IRA Guidelines to automatically receive funding. CSUB’s IRA fee also funds academic technology on campus, the Academic Resource Center, and the Writing Resource Center. 

Once all money has been dispersed to these areas, faculty can apply for an IRA grant from the leftover money. 

“Faculty will apply for money to support their courses to provide experiential opportunities for students,” said Pesco.  

CSUB’s grant application resumed in February, after two years without disbursement.  

While campus-based fees vary by campus, not all fee increases are voted on. The Campus Fee Advisory Committee meets regularly to discuss fee increases. 

According to EJ Callahan, the assistant vice president for student affairs, CSUB uses the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) to determine how much fees need to be increased by. 

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