Students shouldn’t shoulder the cost for budget cuts


The CSU page describing the upcoming tuition increase. Photo credit: Susan Whaley

The problem with the recent California State University tuition hike is bigger than the $270 increase.

It doesn’t matter how much more students will have to pay. The dilemma is, state officials fix budget problems by placing the burden on students.

On March 22, the CSU Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition for students. The increase will go into effect for the fall 2017 semester. The $270 is for in-state undergrads, while out-of-state and graduate students will struggle with an even greater financial headache.

This isn’t an isolated incident that should all be blamed on the board of trustees even though their 11-8 vote didn’t help. The state treats higher education like a business by wringing students for profit.

The CSU website said more funding is needed because “State support per student remains thousands of dollars below 1990s levels.” It’s ridiculous that the CSU officials acknowledge this flaw yet they voted against students.

Lt. Gavin Newsom said voting to increase tuition is letting state lawmakers “off the hook,” according to the LA Times.


Many trustees didn’t want to vote in favor, but felt they had no other choice to improve the quality of public universities. There is always another choice, especially one that does not directly hurt students.

The Board did not approve a tuition freeze which means rates could be raised again in the coming years.

More changes and instability are sure to come when President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 kicks in. There are hints of slashing the Pell Grant and eliminating the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.

During the board meeting, Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White opened with an insulting statement to the room.

“I don’t bring this forward with an ounce of joy. I bring it out of necessity,” White said.

Perhaps Chancellor White could give up a portion of his $400,000 salary to offset the needed funds instead of apologizing for furthering the debt of college students. Quality education is a necessity, but so is a functioning government. The Board should pressure lawmakers and fight for the interest of the students instead of offering meager attempts at justification.

The reasoning behind the approved tuition hike is a reaction to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget which did not leave sufficient funds for the Cal State system. It came in about $324.9 million short.

Trustees have a hefty goal. They want to “Increase graduation rates and eliminate the graduation gaps for underrepresented students.” Their attempt to add more faculty and advisors to increase graduation rates is just a way to push students through college faster without having to guarantee a top-notch education.

Supporting students financially through their education is not a priority.

College students need to stop being punished for getting an education. The public and students can continue fighting by protesting and calling their elected officials. Gov. Brown’s revised budget won’t come until May, so there is still time to pressure lawmakers.

Susan Whaley can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitt