Bill could require CSU trustees to warn students about tuition hikes in advance

>>UPDATE September 28, 2012. 12:01 p.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that would require CSU trustees and UC regents to notify students 30-days in advance before tuition and fee increases are made, on Sept. 27.

AB 970, the Working Families Student Fee Transparency and Accountability Act, also specifies that increases not go into effect for 90-days, giving students and families time to plan for the increases.

The board of trustees will now have to justify fee increases, state the efforts being taken to lessen the impact of fee increases on needy students, alternative proposals to increasing tuition and fees and consult with the California State Student Association about proposed fee increases.

The act will also require that the CSU and UC submit an annual expenditure and financial aid report to the Legislative Analyst’s office.

The bill was authored by Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego) and sponsored by the California State Student Association (CSSA) and University of California Student Association (UCSA).

 

A bill that would require CSU trustees to inform students before fee increases are passed will be decided by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 30.

Brown will ultimately veto or approve Assembly Bill 970, the Working Families Student Fee Transparency and Accountability Act.

The bill will require that students be notified 30-days before tuition or fee increases are made and that increases not take effect for 90-days

Students can tell Brown to approve AB 970 online through the CSSA website.

Trustees and regents will have to include a justification for fee increases, information on where funds from increases will go, efforts taken to lessen impact of fee increases to needy students and the impact fee increases will have on students in their public notice.

AB 970 will also require that the board of trustees consult with the California State Student Association (CSSA) about proposed fee increases. It will require that the CSU and UC submit annual reports on expenditures and financial aid reports be reviewed by the Legislative Analyst’s office. There will also be a 45-day comment period.

The bill was authored by Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego) and was sponsored by the CSSA and the University of California Student Association (UCSA).

“AB 970 is a student centered bill which I was pleased to sponsor on behalf of students to ensure that students are given advanced public notice, consultation, and more transparency and accountability regarding student fee increases,” said Assemblymember Fong in an email.

The act has received the support of the CSU, which worked with the bill’s authors and the CSSA on the language used.

“The CSU tries to provide students with as much notice as possible regarding tuition fees so that they can plan for the impacts of any increases on their budgets,” said Stephanie Thara, CSU spokeswoman in an email. “As such, the CSU supports AB 970 in that it would help inform students about any potential fee increases as well as provide information about the rationale behind those potential increases.”

Meredith Vivian, director of governmental relations for the CSSA, said that AB 970 is all about the students because it will directly impact students and families when a tuition increase is on the table and it will give students another way to feel that the process with tuition increases and the board of trustees is more open and accessible.

“There was a sentiment that students and families needed more time to be able to plan for tuition increases which have been happening every year for the past five years so there was a desire to help extend the period of time from when the Board of Trustees or the UC regents could implement a tuition increase,” Vivian said. “I think that it could be really positive because it’s a way for students to have greater interaction with the board of trustees through this consultation.”

Vivian said she encourages students to get involved and email or call Brown.

“(AB 970) gives them more time to see how fees will affect them, it gives student governments more time to advocate and students more time to advocate for themselves,” said Sydni Powell, president of the Associated Students and CSUN representative for CSSA.