LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Cal State University Board of Trustees voted on Wednesday to increase tuition at its 23 campuses for the first time in six years.
The 11-8 vote means tuition will increase by about $270 for undergraduates for the 2017-18 school year. The current tuition is $5,472. The hike will increase graduate tuition by up to $1,000.
The nation's largest public university system argues it needs the extra money to generate more revenue to hire more faculty and add more classes to accommodate for growing enrollment and insufficient state funding.
"State funding hasn't been cut, but we've asked for enough to maintain our momentum. We have all-time highs in graduation rates, and so for us to maintain that momentum, we're going to need additional source of revenue," said Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the CSU Office of Chancellor.
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CSU says nearly 63 percent of California State University undergraduate students have their tuition fully covered by financial aid and would not be impacted by the increase.
However, some students say they can't afford the increase. Although there has been a six-year stalemate on tuition increases, student argue that fees have gone up.
"We don't want to pay any more. We already pay too much. That's why we're here showing the Board of Trustees that all of these students, hundreds of students, don't support the tuition increase," said student Courtney Yamagiwa.
Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the CSU Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach - some wearing caps and gowns - early Wednesday morning before the vote.
The last time there was a Cal State University tuition increase approval in 2011, there were massive protests that turned violent.
Board members noted that if full funding for CSU is provided in the state budget, due on the governor's desk in June, then the tuition increase would be rescinded. But some board members believe that is unlikely to happen.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.