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Tuition hike vote postponed, students organize

December 7, 2016

The CSU Board of Trustees has postponed its vote on the proposed 5 percent tuition hike for two months, moving the vote to its March 21 meeting.

The CSU is currently facing a $168.8 million shortfall for its 2017-2018 budget. When Gov. Jerry Brown did not offer to fund the CSU’s budget request of $347 million, the Board of Trustees was presented with a tuition increase proposal to partially make up the difference.

If passed, annual tuition would increase by $270 for undergraduates, $312 for credential students and $438 for graduate students.

The trustees will use the postponement of the vote to consider the tuition increase proposal and see if Gov. Brown will fully fund the CSU in his January budget, thus nullifying the need for the tuition increase.

At the November 15 Board of Trustees meeting, Trustee Maggie White, a student at CSU Stanislaus, “expressed concern with the effect a potential tuition increase may have on access and affordability,” according to the meeting minutes.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White said, “all options are being considered and will not be taken off prematurely.”

“A lot of people, I think, place blame on our administrators not realizing that they have no control over this,” Associated Students President Michael Pratt said. “If they don’t find new revenue streams, they have to cut services. So as the costs continue to climb for a variety of reasons, it becomes incredibly difficult to maintain an affordable system without substantial state support. That’s really the issue at hand, it’s not that the Chancellor is needing to raise tuition, it’s that the state is unwilling to provide adequate funding to the CSU.”

The postponement of the trustees’ vote provides more time for students to campaign in the state legislature. To avoid the tuition increase, the legislature must approve the CSU’s full budget request of $347 million.

Student representatives will travel to Sacramento to advocate for more funding for the CSU.

Student advocacy efforts will rely heavily on northern CSU campuses, especially Sacramento State and Chico State, Pratt said.

Advocacy efforts from Chico State will begin in the spring semester. The Student Academic Senate is working with the director of legislative affairs to design a campaign that conveys the burden a tuition increase would place on CSU students, Pratt said.

“So far, their plan is to create a paper mache piggy bank and have students put on the back of blank dollar bills their story about how the tuition increase would affect them. They’ll then take this and see if one of our legislators would be willing to bring it onto the floor of the Senate or the Assembly, open it up and start reading student stories about how they would be affected if the state legislature does not act to increase funding,” Pratt said. “We’ll arm our legislator to make a better impact on our behalf.”

Local legislators, Assemblyman James Gallagher and State Senator Jim Nielsen have been very supportive in the past, Pratt said.

“We want to be as poignant as possible, we want to be as direct as possible and we want to have as great an impact as possible on really the hearts and minds of our legislators,” Pratt said.

Molly Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or @SullivanMollyM on Twitter.


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