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June 22, 2010 > Cal State to increase student fees by 5 percent

Cal State to increase student fees by 5 percent

By Trevor Hunnicutt, Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP), Jun 18 - California State University officials voted Friday to raise student fees this fall by 5 percent in response to deep cuts in state funding for the 23-campus system.

The CSU Board of Trustees voted 10-2 to increase tuition for in-state undergraduate and graduate students at a special meeting in Long Beach.

The increases mean a $204 jump to $4,230 a year for resident undergraduates. Teacher credential students will see their fees increase $234 to $4,908 annually, while graduate student fees will go up $252 to $5,214.

In a separate vote, trustees decided to raise fees on education doctorate students 10 percent, or $870, to $9,546 a year.

The board also voted to eliminate an annual cap on tuition that benefited a small number of out-of-state students who take a large number of classes each year.

State funding for the university system remained uncertain.

A proposal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to restore more than $300 million in state support assumed there would be a fee increase of 10 percent - twice as high as the hike passed Friday.

A similar state Senate proposal assumed a higher increase as well, said Robert Turnage, CSU's assistant vice chancellor for budget.

An Assembly proposal also reflected a 5 percent increase and would provide more state revenue for the CSU budget.

``None of these three plans, I think, if they were put to a vote tomorrow in the Legislature, could secure the two-thirds vote that is necessary to pass a budget act,'' Turnage said.

If funding is not restored, enrollment could decline by an estimated 9.5 percent. Even the larger 10 percent fee increase would not be enough to balance the budget, according to a report by senior CSU administrators.

About 433,000 students were enrolled in the CSU system in 2010.

The California State Student Association supported the 5 percent fee hike as a reasonable increase given the dismal budget situation. Still, some students were disappointed by the trustees' decision.

``They really aren't working hard enough to find a different solution,'' said Claudia Ramirez, a 23-year-old Cal State Long Beach student. ``What this means is that they'll be doing more fee increases for the upcoming semester in January.''

Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association, said the trustees were unwilling to fight eroding state support of higher education.

``People seem to be pulling back from that commitment,'' said Taiz, a history professor at Cal State Los Angeles.

Officials with the university system said they have been left no choice.

``We're facing an unprecedented budget crisis,'' CSU spokesman Michael Uhlenkamp said.

Last year, trustees increased fees by 32 percent from the prior year following cuts in state funding.

Those cuts contributed to reductions in enrollment and courses, and to furloughs for faculty members at CSU and the University of California, the state's other university system.

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