On Nov. 16, the California State University (CSU) board of trustees agreed to increase tuition for Fall 2012 by 9 percent.
“The 9 percent fee increase for most full-time undergraduates will be about $498 for the year,” said CSU spokesperson Erik Fallis. “The number one reason for this increase is from a steady disinvestment of state support.”
Fallis said in the past year, the state reduced their budget by $650 million and there’s a potential $100 million cut. He said some of their buildings are beginning to need immediate maintenance or may not even be usable.
“We have equipment for research that is a decade or more old which does not provide for quality educational experience,” Fallis said.
CSU Spokesperson Liz Chapin said the CSU Board of Trustees voted on the budget and included in it that the CSU ask the state of California for $333 million. She said because of continued state cuts and a funding support that has reduced by 27 percent, there were some protests at the board meeting at the Chancellor Charles B. Reed’s office at CSU Long Beach.
“Most of the protesting, including the violence that occurred, was associated with a group [ReFund California Coalition] who basically came here just to protest,” Chapin said. “Their goals and affiliations are not in line with the CSU.”
Chapin said many of the protesters were not CSU students.
“There were four students from the group who were arrested,” Chapin said. “Three of them were CSU students and one was a University of California (UC) student.”
According to Fallis, the ringleader who shattered the glass door to the board meeting room and caused injury to four police officers was the UC student. One officer suffered severe injuries and was taken to the hospital.
“They had the intention of actively disrupting legitimate business,” Fallis said. “Frankly, it is deeply disappointing the outside group chose to hijack the meeting in which we were covering essential topics.”
The California Faculty Association (CFA), a union of CSU faculty members, said it disapproved of fee increases.
“We are angry about curriculum and policy changes that dumb down education,” said President of the CFA Lillian Taiz in a statement. “We are angry about students paying more and getting less — bigger class sizes, fewer class offerings.”
Fallis said if the CSU system doesn’t receive additional state revenue, they have to begin addressing critical needs in the system as well as possibly considering bringing in more students than they normally accept.
“The problem is the hole has been dug so deep for us,” Fallis said. “We’re in this hole because of budget cuts by California and we’re $1 billion less in state support than we had in 2007. Unfortunately, even with the [tuition] increase, we are nowhere near the resources we had before.”
According to Fallis, there are a couple of reasons as to why it appears the CSU system is more negatively affected by budget cuts than the UC system.
“With the exception of a couple of universities, most do not have significant research or outside operations,” Fallis said. “For the UCs, their core academic functions are highly subsidized by the state and their research function and hospitals are supported be federal or private grants or by charges of that operation.”
Fallis said the CSUs also don’t deliberately adopt a policy of offsetting state enrollment with higher international or non-resident enrollment.
“Our international and non-resident enrollment has stayed roughly the same percentage as our student population,” he said. “Essentially, our student population has shrunk a little since 2007.”
In general, the CSU system will not pursue this policy because it doesn’t want to offset California resident students for international and out of state students.
“Our hope is there are no more fee hikes,” Fallis said. “Our hope is the state decides to prioritize higher education.”
CLAIRE TAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.