Courtesy Photo | California State University

The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees released a statement Jan. 29 regarding the possibility of a tuition hike for the 2018-2019 school year due to a lack of funding for CSUs in the state budget.

The CSU Board of Trustees is in the midst of their first meeting of the year, held Jan. 29-31. At the meeting, the board will have a “frank discussion” regarding the proposed university funding and the state budget, according to CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White in a press release.

In November 2017, the CSU Board of Trustees submitted a request for the 2018-2019 school year budget. When Governor Jerry Brown released the state budget proposal in January, the CSU system found a $170 million shortfall, according to CSU spokesperson Elizabeth Chapin. 

“CSU students are in the precarious position of being held responsible for rapidly increasing mandatory costs that the state of California seems unwilling to fund from year to year,” President of the California State Student Association Maggie White said in the press release.

In 2017, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a $270 increase in tuition for the 2017-2018 school year, which sparked protests on campus during Open House Weekend. Another tuition increase would contribute to the trend of a growing cost of attendance over the past 50 years.

The Trustees said they will not vote on the tuition increase at this meeting, or at their meeting in March. The Trustees will not finalize decisions regarding a tuition hike until “at least May,” according to Chancellor White. This will allow more time to advocate for an increase in funding.

“Our first priority is to advocate in Sacramento to our governor and legislators the importance of the CSU to advocate for full funding,” Chapin said. “From now until the Governor’s final budget is released in June, CSU leaders, students and stakeholders are really going to be advocating that case in Sacramento to get the full funding.”

Advocacy efforts have led to full funding in the past, according to Chapin.

I believe it was the year before last, our advocacy efforts through our Stand With CSU campaign led to full funding of the CSU,” Chapin said. “So it has been successful in the past.”

To combat the possibility of a tuition hike, the CSU Academic Senate said they plan to advocate for increased state funding so the burden of increased cost does not fall on students. Chapin said other student organizations, such as Associated Students, Inc., (ASI), have also played a role in advocating for full state funding.

Computer engineering freshman Monica Andres said an increase in tuition would possibly affect her ability to continue attending Cal Poly.

“I think that right now, the tuition compared to other schools is doable, but if the tuition prices do increase, it would affect me in a negative way because I’m already taking out loans right now as a freshman,” computer engineering freshman Monica Andres said. “Taking out more and more loans every year would be detrimental to my debt. In the future, it could possibly cause me to transfer.”

Chapin said that a tuition increase would not likely affect students with financial aid.

“Any tuition increase, if it does ever get implemented, would not impact the CSU’s neediest students. Our students with family incomes less than $70,000 generally do not pay tuition due to grants,” Chapin said.

However, some of the loans and grants offered at Cal Poly, such as the Cal Grant, are provided by the state. A lack of state funding could affect those grants and loans.

“We would be able to provide a lot more money [through the Cal Grant] if there was an increase in funding,” Chapin said. “That’s another topic that the Trustees will be discussing at their meetings.”

Advocacy efforts will continue on campus and at the CSU level.

“For students, I think the most important thing is that they understand that this situation is because of the lack of investment in the state and for the CSU,” Chapin said. “Sacramento needs to be held responsible.”

Open sessions of the CSU Board of Trustees meetings held in Long Beach will be broadcasted live to the public.

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