CSU proposal to increase tuition for the 2018-2019 school year

Erika Martinez,

Last year, tuition for the 2017-18 school year increased by five percent. The decision was made during a board of trustees meeting at California State University, Long Beach as CSU students were protesting outside.

On Jan. 29, the CSU Board of Trustees announced a proposal for another tuition increase for the 2018-19 school year. This news has once again alarmed many CSU students, staff and faculty members.

According to the CSU Board of Trustees, the funding is for improved facilities, infrastructure, enrollment growth, compensation and the Graduation Initiative 2025 plan, meant to help students graduate on time.

Governor Jerry Brown has consistently underfunded the CSU system, causing the board of trustees to raise tuition in order to make up for the requested amount they proposed to the governor and did not receive.

The board of trustees requested $343.7 million in state budget support for the 2017-18 school year and were only granted $176 million, leaving them short by $167.7 million.

This year, “it was only an additional $92.1 million and the trustees requested an additional $263 million, so there’s $170.1 million dollar gap between what the trustees requested this year and what the governor has proposed so far,” CSU public affairs manager, Elizabeth Chapin, told The Pioneer.

The governor’s proposed budget plan will be revised in May and the final decision will be made in June.

“From now until June, CSU leaders, staff and students, their first priority is to advocate in Sacramento to policy makers for fully funding the 2018-19 budget request, and if the state fully funds the CSU, trustees won’t have to make the difficult decision of raising tuition,” explained Chapin.

Last year’s trustees meeting about the budget increase occurred in March, but they have delayed the meeting for this year to May to have more time to negotiate the state funds. The exact date was not specified.

This second possible increase will heavily affect many CSU students financially, but according to Chapin, financial aid students have nothing to worry about.

“Any tuition increase that could potentially happen, will not affect the CSU’s neediest students,” she said.

Sixty percent of CSU students have their tuitions covered by financial aid. Chapin clarified to The Pioneer that many students are not aware, but every student whose family makes less than $70,000 annually will not be affected by an increase.

CSU leaders will keep advocating for the state to increase their CSU budget proposal until May. The board of trustees are the middlemen between the state and students and without the state’s help they can only do so much for them.

“It’s all in the state,” Chapin commented.

There seems to be a disconnect between CSU administrators and students. “While students live in poverty conditions we have top administrators taking home inflated salaries,” stated Isaiah Avila de la Cruz, Students for Quality Education (SQE) member and CSUEB finance major.

SQE members question what the CSU budget is really going toward. A 2016 study done by the California State University found one in 10 of CSU students are homeless and one in five CSU students are food insecure.

Even with such statistics, Governor Brown keeps consistently underfunding the CSU.

The SQE organization from each CSU campus protested during the meeting of last year’s tuition hike decision, however, the CSUEB SQE is still planning their next move.