On Jan. 27, the California State University Chancellor announced that there will not be an increase in tuition cost for the next academic year.
According to the CSU website, this means that Cal Poly’s yearly tuition will remain the same as the systemwide in-state, undergraduate tuition at $5,742 for students enrolled in six or more units, and $3,330 for undergraduates enrolled in less than six units.
The last time Cal Poly experienced a raise in tuition was the academic year of 2017-2018. The cost of undergraduate tuition the prior academic year was $1,824, not including fees. Fees are estimated to contribute an extra $1,342 on top of flat rate tuition pricing.
For interdisciplinary liberal arts engineering studies senior Kalynn Harris, the decision to keep tuition the same doesn’t go far enough.
“If anything, [tuition] should decrease,” Harris said.
Harris said tuition should accommodate the pandemic’s economic downturn.
“Our economy has tanked the livelihoods of students, and parents, who are financially struggling to make ends meet,” Harris said. “We need to be fairly compensated for the entire academic year spent online.”
Cal Poly Director of Media Relations Matt Lazier said that while CSU tuition has been ordered to stay the same, the costs of student fees can be changed by each individual school, which can alter the total cost of attendance. Based on information from the CSU, Cal Poly’s student fees currently cost $10,074, higher than any other CSU.
Lazier said that the university’s cost of attendance will most likely remain the same.
“While there is not currently any consideration of raising fees, it is important to note that levels for existing fees can vary depending on individual circumstance — such as which program a student is enrolling in or when the student first enrolls,” said Lazier.
The fees that are factored into the price of attending are contingent on what the student is studying. For example, the College of Liberal Arts offers a lower academic fee than other colleges at the University, Lazier said.
Although Lazier said fees are not expected to increase, according to the higher education price index, the cost of fees have grown at an average rate of 4% since 2017. The fee inflation is determined by an index that predicts the main cost drivers and funding changes needed to maintain purchasing power.
At a base level, for students that are California residents and taking six units or more, the cost of tuition including fees averages to $3,256 per quarter.
For out-of-state students, that number increases. Non-residential students pay a flat quarterly tuition rate, including fees, of $3,360; but, they also pay $264 per unit, plus a $1,340 Cal Poly Opportunity Fee, according to the student accounts office. In-state students do not pay per unit, nor do they pay the Cal Poly Opportunity fee.
When compared to other universities within the CSU system, Cal Poly ranks as the highest costing university by far. According to the CSU Website, Cal State Fresno has the lowest cost of attendance at $6,643 per year, including fees for a student that lives off campus.
Source: The California State University
Comparatively, Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State Channel Islands pay $6,782 and $6,802 in student fees per year, respectively. These numbers indicate that students who attend Cal Poly are paying nearly $3,000 more in fees than other CSU students.
Construction management senior Grace Brekke says she’s not surprised that Cal Poly has the highest tuition. Brekke said she has been paying for her own tuition for the last four years, and is currently taking classes online in her hometown of Oakland to save money.
“Even though my experiences at Cal Poly and the opportunities I have gained from attending school here have completely altered my life, my knowledge and my career, I don’t know if I can passionately say that it is worth the price,” Brekke said. “It would be nice if the price did not change for future Mustangs.”