The new budget also provides for additional funding for CSU Long Beach's Shark Lab. Mustang News | File Photo

The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees is debating raising tuition by five percent after costs have remained unchanged over the last six years.

The main purpose of the tuition hike is to offset the minimal funding provided for state universities in Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2017 state budget, according to CSU spokesperson Elizabeth Chapin.

“Right now there is a $168 million shortfall in the budget,” Chapin said. “The board will be voting on it in the March meeting.”

Though the official vote will not happen until next month, the Board of Trustees started debating the issue at a meeting Feb. 1. 

“In their meeting a couple days ago, they made it clear that their first priority is to advocate for more funding in Sacramento through the state budget,” Chapin said.

The student-activist group Students for Quality Education (SQE) has organized several rallies at multiple CSUs in protest of the proposed tuition increase, including Chico State, CSU East Bay, Fresno State, Sonoma State, CSU Fullerton, CSU San Bernardino and the CSU Board of Trustees offices at Long Beach.

“We are fighting for a return to the CA Master Plan and its promise of tuition-free higher education for all,” SQE said in a press release Jan. 30. “Students demand a fully funded CSU and that CSU administrators reverse privatizing trends and make affordability for students a priority once again.”

The next board of trustees meeting will take place March 21 and March 22. You can see what the board decides through the live-stream of the meeting on the CSU website.

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