Letter to the editor

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The longer a student will stay at CSUN, the more she will pay. Here is why.

California is a state in denial. We are forever blowing financial bubbles; we indulge short-term speculation and forego long-term investment. We borrow beyond our means, betting on suckers to buy our follies. Then when bubbles burst and taxes topple, we cry, “We were bamboozled!”

CSU is in denial, too. We cannot call the thing that students pay /tuition/, though each year they pay more and financial aid grows more because the state funds less per student–$1,000 less than five years ago. Meanwhile tuitions—excuse me, fees—in CSU and community colleges remain among the lowest in the nation, and grants in aid remain among the highest.

We deny the present and distort the past. We invoke the low fees in the Master Plan of 1960. But that plan rejected remediation. The authors under-estimated the number of students and the cost of faculty. It was written before the war on poverty increased public assistance, fear of crime inflated prison budgets, and the revolt against local property taxes made K-12 schools rely more on state funds. Changing beliefs have lowered the priority of public higher education for state funding.

Until people vote differently, the trend will continue. Unless we invest for public good, not just private gain, the riches of a few will impoverish the republic as a whole.

Because fees are rising, the longer a student will stay at CSUN the more she will pay. As a result, in spring we will make more class sections available. Since everything cannot be taught in prime time, students must keep their schedules flexible.

For California to be functional, government, markets, and people must be mutually accountable.

Harry Hellenbrand

Provost