Students can breathe a sigh of relief this fall. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a budget that will provide $226 million in new revenue for the California State University (CSU) system.

The money will be used to fill the requested budget and allow for no fee increase for fall. Students who are California residents will continue to pay the current fee for this year.

CSU students are currently paying about $2,500 at the undergraduate level, $2,900 for the teaching credential programs and $3,100 at the graduate level.

The budget will protect students from a fee increase for fall of 2006 but doesn’t guarantee protection for the 2007 academic year, said Paul Browning, a media relation specialist at the Chancellor’s office.

“Included (in) this amount is $54.4 million above the state’s General Fund commitment under the Higher Education Compact to eliminate the proposed fee increase of 8 percent for undergraduate and 10 percent for graduate students,” Browning said in an e-mail to the Mustang Daily.

The Higher Education Compact is an agreement that goes from 2005 to 2011 to fund at least 2.5 percent of annual enrollment. This increased funding allows the CSU system to avoid a decrease in enrollment because of the state budget crisis.

The money comes from the State General Fund, Browning said. The CSU Board of Trustees assumed that the fees would increase, but Gov. Schwarzenegger proposed using general funds and the legislature agreed, he said.

All students in or entering the CSU system benefit from the decision but middle class students will probably profit the most.

“It will enable them to spend more time hitting the books and less time working to pay (for) college,” Browning said.

Students who are already in the CSU system will see an increase in grant funding, which will allow more students to receive money.

About 11,000 students are estimated to enroll in the CSU system this fall, and the money will cover those students completely, Browning said. It may also help students who have thought about enrolling in school this fall.

“The elimination of a fee increase could result in even more students enrolling in CSU this fall if the fear of a fee increase was originally keeping them away,” Browning said.

Other areas that will receive a fund increase are nursing programs, math and science teacher recruitment at the kindergarten through high school level and Academic Preparation and Student Outreach programs. The Capitol Fellows Program will also receive some money.

The Student Financial Aid Grants will increase by $6.4 million and funding will go to all 23 CSU campuses, Browning said. Campuses with more students might see more funding than others, he added.

So far there are no tax-increase considerations in order to compensate for the funding and there are no known downfalls, he said.

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