January 27, 2003 Vol. VII, No. 8

State Budget Crisis Forces Hike in Cal State Student Fees

Increases of 10 Percent for Undergraduates and 15 Percent for Graduates Take Effect in Spring Semester

Hit with $125 million in state budget cuts, the Cal State system¹s Board of Trustees has approved an increase in student fees for the spring semester‹the first for California resident students in eight years‹seeking to maintain access and quality at its 23 campuses.

The increase in the CSU¹s State University Fee for the spring 2003 semester is 10 percent for undergraduate students and 15 percent for graduate students. For the spring semester, that translates into an additional $72 charge for undergraduates and an extra $114 for graduate students.

The trustees¹ December 16 vote came in response to wide-ranging mid-year budget reductions proposed by Gov. Gray Davis in an attempt to narrow California¹s more than $30 billion state budget deficit. The cuts, impacting all kinds of state-funded programs, also spurred a mid-year fee increase in the University of California system.

For the Cal State system, full-time, California resident undergraduates will pay a $786 fee for the spring semester, up from $714. Full-time, California resident graduate students will pay $867 for the spring semester, up from $753. Part-time undergraduates will pay $456 and part-time graduate students will pay $504 for the semester.

Even with the increase, Cal State students this school year will continue to pay less than CSU students paid between 1994 and 1998. That is because, during the state¹s good budget years in the late 1990s, fees for undergraduates were cut twice for a total 10 percent reduction. The CSU¹s last fee increase for California resident students was in 1994­95.

"These are really, really tough times for California," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "We had been told our state budget cuts would be one time, but now they are permanent. We didn¹t want to recommend raising fees, but everybody has to share a part of the pain if the CSU is to maintain quality and access."

Trustees said they understood student concerns about the increase, but said if they did not act now, the consequences would be much worse in the future. "I don¹t like this; no one likes this. But we have a responsibility to the entire system to make sure access and quality are maintained," said trustee Robert Foster.

Both the CSU statewide Academic Senate and statewide Alumni Council supported the fee increase.

The trustees acted in the face of a $59.6 million CSU mid-year cut proposed by the governor, in addition to a $43 million cut and $22.8 million in unfunded costs the system experienced in 2002. In total, the CSU will have to manage a $125 million reduction in state funding of the system¹s $2.68 billion budget for 2002­03.

Of that total, students are only funding a small share through the spring fee increase. The increase is expected to generate an additional $30 million in revenue systemwide. But trustee policy mandates that one-third of the fee increase, or $10 million, go directly to student financial aid. So the net fee increase revenue to help offset the CSU budget cuts is $20 million. The system and the campuses are having to manage the remaining large share of the cuts.

For many CSU students who receive financial aid, planned additions to their financial aid packages for the spring semester should cover the full cost of the CSU fee increase. CSU officials said students who receive State University Grants (108,000 systemwide) and those who receive Cal Grants (nearly 30,000 systemwide) should have no out-of-pocket increase.

Reflecting the extraordinary seriousness of California¹s current budget crisis, Cal State officials noted that the CSU previously had not had a mid year student fee increase since 1982­83.

Even with the spring fee increase, annual student fees in the Cal State system for now remain under $2,100 per year for California resident students. That is by far the most affordable among the Cal State system¹s established comparison group of 15 other universities, where annual student fees average nearly $4,600. Graduate full time (6.1 or more units) $867 part time (0 to 6.0 units) $504

New State University
Fee Rates for Spring 2003
UndergraduatePer Semester
full time (6.1 or more units) $786
part time (0 to 6.0 units)$456
full time (6.1 or more units)$867
part time (0 to 6.0 units) $504

@csun | January 27, 2003 issue
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