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CSU Approves 20 Percent Tuition Hike

— Just two months after approving a 10 percent tuition hike, the California State University Board of Trustees authorized another 20 percent increase in student fees today as it tries to compensate for a sharp reduction in state funding.

Under the fee hike, tuition for full-time undergraduate students will increase by $672 this fall, from the current $3,354 to $4,026. Average campus fees are $801, bringing the total average cost to $4,827 a year -- a rate that CSU officials said is still lower than many other university systems.

Nonresident student tuition will increase from $10,170 to $11,160. That hike is the first increase in nonresident tuition since 2004-05, CSU officials said.

The board's vote was met by chants of "Shame on you" by students and other protesters gathered at the meeting.

CSU Chancellor Charles Reed said last week that the 23-campus system was in a "mega-meltdown financially" because state funding was being rolled back to levels not seen in a decade.

One-third of the funding from the fee increases will go into financial aid. Reed said as many as 187,000 students whose family income does not exceed $75,000 a year will be exempt from the hikes.

Reed also proposed a furlough program that would require CSU's 47,000 employees to take two unpaid days off every month to save the university system about $275 million. The furlough requirement needs to be approved by employee unions.

Reed has already directed all 23 CSU campuses to stop enrolling students for the upcoming spring semester, and he is calling for enrollment to be reduced by 40,000 students over the next two years.

Even with the cuts and fee increases, however, the CSU system will still be facing a $190 million budget deficit.

Reed said workers at all CSU campuses will have to restrict travel, suspend job promotions, reduce maintenance and repair, and avoid large purchases.

"They will reduce their budgets every way that they possibly can during this year to get to the $584 million reduction," Reed said.

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