The Board of Trustees sent the California State University budget to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger with a 10 percent increase in student fees despite the efforts of Lt. Governor John Garamendi.
What this means for full-time students at CSUN is a $169 increase in tuition fees for a total tuition cost of $1,842 per semester.
Garamendi, who acts as a member of the Board of Trustees because of his title as Lt. Governor of California, submitted a proposal to the board that would stop the continuous fee increases students have to pay.
“We have to change this if we are going to continue to have a robust, growing economy in which every Californian can participate,” Garamendi said. “The ever increasing escalation of fees for students does close the door on numerous students.”
The proposal, which was also presented to the UC Board of Regents, would “stabilize student fees by capping at 2007-08 levels and limiting future student fee increases to the rate of inflation.”
Garamendi said higher education was about entirely funded through the public resources of the state of California before 1990. But Garamendi said there’s been a very profound shift in the funding for the higher education system for more than 15 years.
“We are now headed toward a system in which the privatization of this university is well underway,” Garamendi said.
Tuition fees have been increased by 94 percent throughout the last five years.
Lillian Taiz, president of the Calfornia Faculty Association, said there’s been noticeable difficulty in obtaining greater enrollment once fees have been increased.
“It isn’t rocket science, I think, to be able to draw a correlation between dramatic increases in fees and climb in enrollment,” Taiz said. “Every time you increase fees, not only will you discourage people from coming?people feel like it is getting out of reach.”
Taiz said she feels sorry for students who started attended classes at CSU campuses during 2003 or 2004 because tuition has increased every year since then.
“I don’t care how much notice you give someone that your fees are going to go up,” Taiz said. “You still have to figure how to cover the cost.”
Dennis Smith of the California Federation of Teachers said if there are less people enrolling in CSU campuses due to the fee increases, fewer students would ultimately graduate.
CSUN student Dina Cervantes, senior family consumer sciences major, said students are enrolling in fewer classes because they have to work more, which also affects the graduation rate.
Garamendi said, “There is a financial barrier. Nationally, it is reported that as many as 1.6 million students don’t go to a four-year university because of the present high fees and another 2.4 million students are likely to be prevented from getting their bachelor’s degrees.”
Taiz said students are receiving less for the money they are spending on the cost of higher education. Students can’t enroll in classes they’re required to take to graduate because they’ve been cut at the same time that fees are being increased.
“I was telling the Board of Trustees that if you think about buying gas at the pump, it is true that we are paying two or three times more than what we used to pay for gas, but at least you still get a gallon of gas,” Taiz said.
“Imagine going to the pump and paying twice as much for half a gallon of gas and essentially that’s what students are getting,” Taiz said. “Students are paying more and actually getting less in terms of what they deserve and what they ought to be getting at their universities.”
Smith said his local newspaper reported that California is “on track to become the first state in the nation to spend more on prisons than it does on higher education.”
Garamendi said striving to stop the fee increases is an extensive fight and students shouldn’t give up.
“This is something we are going to have to work on for a period of time, maybe a year, two years, maybe three years,” Garamendi said. “But we can change this if we present to the public and the legislators and the governor cogent arguments about why it’s important that we continue the long tradition of a publicly funded university.”
“We are going to have to fight this fight,” Garamendi said. “This is going to be a long term fight to change what has become an unfortunate convergence from the long history of California.”
In “CSU trustees call for fee increase in budget to the governor,” which was published in the Nov. 20 edition, it was reported, “The Board of Trustees sent the California State University budget to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger with a 10 percent increase in student fees despite the efforts of Lt. Governor John Garamendi.”
Although the CSU Board of Trustees sent their budget proposal to the governor, “no increase in undergraduate, teacher credential program, and graduate/post-baccalaureate SUF rates” was proposed, the 2008-09 Support Budget shows.