But a third tuition hike in one year is an option the chancellor is considering unless Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers give him the nearly $900 million he's requesting.
"We will have to evaluate this request based upon resources we have available, the other competing priorities in the budget and the size of the budget problem it has to solve," said H.D. Palmer, deputy director for external affairs at the California Department of Finance.
In other words, fat chance.
On Tuesday, the governor estimated the budget deficit to be $14.5 billion over 18 months, making that third fee hike a very real possibility next spring.
"Maybe take a year off, because I can't afford this situation. I can't afford school," said student Lourdes Loyola.
University and mandatory fees have gone nowhere but up during this decade. In 2000, students paid just $1,800 a year.
When Gov. Schwarzenegger took office, it was up to nearly $2,600. This year, without that third tuition increase, it's almost $5,000.
Fee hikes aren't the only answer to a tight budget. Enrollment limits are being implemented too, which means it's tougher to get into CSU.
The chancellor says they'll accept 40,000 fewer students over the next two years, at a time when the recession is pushing more people to further their education.
"I was really looking forward to going there, but now my hopes are down," said Linda Yang, who was hoping to transfer to CSU.