Students for Quality Education shows display of CSU fee increases in front of the Oviatt

Antoine Abou-Diwan

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The Students for Quality Education (SQE) set up a life size bar graph in front of the Oviatt Library to provide students with a visual perspective of the escalating tuition fees. Photo Credit: Armando Ruiz / Staff Photographer

Correction: In the story “Students illustrate CSU fee hikes” published Dec. 2, it stated Assembly Bill 656 would place a tax on oil companies which would be applied toward education, if passed. Senate Bill 330 would provide transparency. Both bills were not passed.

The Students for Quality Education (SQE) set up a life-sized graphic display in front of the Oviatt Library, showing state university fee increases over the last decade.

“Our focus is education, making sure it’s affordable and that students get a quality education,” said Alejandro Hernandez, a graphic design and Chicano/a studies double major.

According to the CSU budget office, undergraduate state university fees were $1,428 in 1992.  The 2011-12 academic year will cost students $4,884, a 242 percent increase since 2002.

SQE is trying to raise awareness in the campus community about the steady increase in fees, and to get students to think about where their money is going, said Frances Rosenberg, a philosophy major.

“I think our priorities are wrong,” Rosenberg said.  “Whenever the state suffers, education is always first to suffer.”

The California Master Plan for Higher Education, signed in 1960, attempted to make higher education available to all who qualified, regardless of personal financial means.

In a letter to the Daily Sundial published Nov. 23, Dr. Harry Hellenbrand, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the master plan “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.”

Hernandez said attempts are being made to find alternative sources of funding for education.  Assembly Bill 656, if approved, would place a tax on oil companies, which will be applied towards education.

Hernandez also mentioned Senate Bill 330 as a way to increase transparency.

If approved, the bill would include auxiliary organizations of the CSU, UC and California Community Colleges in the California Public Records Act.

“Until people vote differently, the trend will continue,” Hellenbrand said in his letter.