Editors note: The graphic that ran with this story incorrectly stated that the per unit cost for undergraduates would be $359, and that graduate units would be $389. It should have read $259 per unit for undergraduates $289 per unit for graduates. The numbers within the story and in the rest of the graphic were correct.
Summer students will have to pay for themselves 100 percent in order to be offered this year, a change from previous summers. To support this, Cal Poly and 21 of the 23 California State University (CSU) campuses will shift to a self-support tuition plan. The change to self-support is aimed at helping seniors graduate in a timely fashion and decreasing the number of in-state full-time equivalent students (FTE).
This summer will be the first time Cal Poly will use a self-support plan for summer quarter. Up until 2003, self-support was used by most universities for their summer term until the decision was made by the Chancellor’s office to convert summer term to state-support. Continuing education will be marketing the summer quarter because the program is always on a self-support tuition plan and has the financial procedures to make self-support possible. No summer school students will pay college based fees, or state university fees based on the amount of units taken.
In summer 2009, a College of Liberal Arts undergraduate student at Cal Poly taking eight units or less paid a flat rate of $1,084. That same student taking eight units in summer 2010 would pay approximately $2,427.11, a $1,343.11 increase from the previous year.
The change to a self-support model means the flat rate of $259 per unit for undergraduate students and $289 per unit for graduate students will extend to in-state, out-of-state and international students. As a result, out-of-state and international students will see a significant decrease in their tuition while in-state students will ultimately pay more depending on the number of units taken.
The ultimate goal is to reduce as many in-state FTE students as possible so that Cal Poly can meet it’s state-mandated target of approximately 15,702 full-time in-state students (from more than 17,350). The main reason for the universities to shift to self-support is because the state won’t fund universities that go over the target number. Since each in-state FTE student’s tuition is matched by the state and the state doesn’t pay anything for out-of-state or international students, CSUs are emphasizing graduating on time. The self-supported tuition plan aims to accomplish just that.
Although there will be a funding change, what courses will be offered is still being strongly considered. Dennis Parks, dean for continuing education and university outreach said the classes offered this summer will be the ones in high demand during the regular school year, classes with a high-failure rate, and courses needed for students to graduate. Cornel Morton, vice president of student affairs, said at Wednesdays Associated Students Incorporated board of directors meeting that a survey would be put together in the near future that would also help to inform the courses offered.
“When you move a course from state-support to self-support, that course does not generate FTEs for the state so we can fairly rapidly take a big chunk out of that number we need to reduce by moving our summer term from state-support to self-support,” Parks said. “The idea is if we do this in the summer it will get us a lot closer to the number that we need for the upcoming academic year.”
For kinesiology senior Katie Streder the main reason she enrolls in summer school is so she can get classes out of the way but she often has a hard time finding the major classes she needs. Streder said she is looking to do summer school this year even though she will likely have to pay more.
“They’re making sure people have to give them more money but all they’re doing is lengthening the time we have to be here if we can’t afford it,” Streder said. “$259 a unit sounds reasonable but that doesn’t really help you if you’re trying to knock out three classes.
In self-support, the student is paying for themselves so out-of-state and international students will benefit because they will not have to pay out-of-state fees like normal. Business senior Ali Zikratch transferred to Cal Poly from Idaho two years ago and is still paying out-of-state fees, resulting in a fee of almost $3,000 a quarter. In summer 2009, tuition for a single four-unit class for Zikratch and international students would have been $2,036. This summer, out-of-state and international students will pay the same as in-state students, making the tuition cost for the same number of units for $644.89 less. While the change in fees will be a big decrease from what she is currently paying, Zikratch still doesn’t think the change is affordable for the majority of students and is angry that the university is using the change to push seniors out.
“At this point what are we paying more for? Nothing. We’re paying more for less,” Zikratch said. “It’s exactly the opposite of what should be happening. We’re being punished because the school is suffering. If they want us to get out, they need to give us the resources to get done. I would be willing to pay more if I was guaranteed the classes.”
No student is guaranteed classes, but Parks said that by offering more upper division major classes during summer, students will have a better chance of getting the classes they need to graduate.
Parks said that registration will be the same and will be done through Cal Poly’s normal registering portal. The only difference is in where the money from tuition will go. In order for FTEs to not count against the university, tuition money will be classified in what CSU calls “self-support” as opposed to “state-support.”
“Because we don’t have a historic track record here of running summer in self support we had to basically go back to square one and say ‘okay, how are we gong to make this happen? How are we going to do it so it has as little impact as possible on students?'” Parks said. “So that we can help the university meet its target, so that we can help students graduate faster, because that’s one of the big goals of summer and state fees continue to go up and there’s not really any indication that they’re not going to go up again for next year. I think as the campuses were looking at a way to be able to reduce their numbers, this was about the only option.”