Cal Poly undergraduate students are currently set to pay an extra $204 in fees for the 2010-2011 school year after the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees voted to raise the State University Fee earlier this month.
A proposal in the California State Assembly called for a state budget that would require the CSU system to come up with an additional 10 percent in student fees. The CSU is raising fees by 5 percent with the hope the legislature will provide more money. If it doesn’t, the CSU Board of Trustees has the option to revisit the fee levels in November.
Dr. Robert Koob, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said he was hopeful the legislature will work with the CSU’s budget.
“I’m optimistic that the legislature will actually increase support for educational issues. I don’t know how they will do it, but they will,” Koob said.
Even with the increase and the current average campus fee of $867 per year, undergraduate students will pay approximately $5,097 per year, the lowest fee rate among comparable institutions.
Koob said the fee increase is needed to maintain Cal Poly’s course offerings.
“If a class costs a little more that is still a door you can walk through,” Koob said. “If you cannot attend the class, regardless of price, it is a closed door.”
Associated Students Inc. President Sarah Storelli said it isn’t clear how much students will wind up paying.
“The 5 percent fee increase means that students will have to pay more, but at this moment in time we do not know the impact this will have until our budget is finalized,” Storelli said. “It is important for students to get involved and voice their concerns, whether it is in their college councils or student government, so they can express their wishes on how the increased fees will be used.”
The Chancellor’s Office said the impact on students’ pocketbooks would be reduced because of financial aid. One-third of the fee increase will be channeled to student aid to help students pay for school.
But this creates a problem for Cal Poly, Koob said, “because only two-thirds makes it into the budget for the university.”
Last year, in an attempt to ease the monetary burden felt throughout the state’s higher education system, the CSU system implemented faculty furloughs to cut costs. However, the furloughs were only negotiated for one year, said Erik Fallis, spokesperson for the Chancellor’s Office.
Koob said Cal Poly will need more money if faculty furloughs were not optioned for a second year.
“To pay faculty the same amount without furloughs, we would need a 10 percent budget increase. This fee partially offsets that,” Koob said. “Yet, 5 percent would not offset it enough to fill the gap.”
Whether furloughs will be enacted again this year will depend on the level of state funding from the legislators, Fallis said.
This is not the first time students have dealt with fee increases. Koob said last year’s 32 percent increase — the largest in the past 10 years — was “as bad as it gets.”
“The year that we have been through will be the worst. I have no proof, but it is my belief that last year was the worst year and that we can only get better,” he said.