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Trustees look to raise tuition to narrow budget gap

POSTED July 5, 2011 8:08 p.m.

Higher tuition could await California State University students, as the CSU Board of Trustees responds to between $150 and $250 million in new state funding cuts.

On July 12, the Trustees will consider enacting an additional tuition increase of 12 percent – $588 per year – effective for the Fall 2011 term.

The requested tuition increase is lower than the 32 percent, $1,566 per year increase previously discussed by the CSU Chancellor’s office. But the tuition increase would come on the heels of a 10 percent, $444 annual tuition increase already due to take effect in fall, raising undergraduate tuition to $5,472 – up sharply from the $4,335 tuition charged a year ago.

The $1,137 year-over-year tuition hike is necessary to “avert devastating and lasting damage to student access, student services, and program quality” in the wake of state budget cuts, according to the CSU.

The new, $150 to $250 million cut comes in addition to a $500 million cut to the CSU budget, authorized by the state Legislature earlier this year. In response to that cut the CSU decided to enroll 10,000 fewer students this fall and reduced budgets.

The newest cut is comprised of a $150 million guaranteed cut, and a $100 million cut which could occur midyear if the state does not meet revenue forecasts.

Combined, state support for the CSU could fall as low as $2 billion this year – a 27 percent year over year reduction. Even should the triggered $100 million cut not occur, the CSU will have the lowest level of state support since the 1998-1999 fiscal year, despite serving an additional 90,000 students.

“What was once unprecedented has unfortunately become normal, as for the second time in three years the CSU will be cut by well over $500 million,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed on June 30, when the budget was passed. “The magnitude of this cut, compounded with the uncertainty of the final amount of the reduction, will have negative impacts on the CSU long after this upcoming fiscal year has come and gone.”

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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