CSU schools may turn away thousands

LONG BEACH, Calif. Tuesday, a raucous group of protestors angry about money demonstrated on the Long Beach campus. Many college students are upset that a proposed fee hike would make a state university education unaffordable.

Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed a 10 percent hike in tuition and fees and $66.3 million in a mid-year cut to the CSU budget, and students, faculty and staff are protesting.

The average cost to attend one of the 23 Cal State schools is about $3,000 per year. With the 10-percent increase, many students may be priced out of a college education.

"I'm going to lose financial aid and possibly have to take out more loans, and that's more to pay back in the long run," said Cal State Northridge student Aja Evans.

"I can't afford it. Cuts have consequences. I come from a household with a single mother. I work. It's just not enough now," said Cal State Northridge student Darnell Weatherspoon.

"To be honest, I'm barely going to be able to get through school," said Cal State Dominguez Hills student Bailey Smith. "I have to pay for my own education and with the hikes I don't even know if I'm going to be able to make enough money to pay for it. I'm going to be up to here in loans by the time I get out."

"You cannot have the best educated workforce on the cheap. We have put the education system on a starvation diet and each and every year it becomes weaker," said Calif. Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, California State University trustee.

At the chancellors meeting Tuesday afternoon, there was discussion of possibly cutting as many as 10,000 admission spots to next term's incoming class.

"The board and the chancellor will talk about it Wednesday, and make a decision soon, since November 30th is the deadline for most of our campuses to get their applications in," said Cal State University Vice-Chancellor Claudia Keith. "So unless something happens in terms of funding from the state it's likely that we'll have to call a system-wide impaction."

For some college-bound students at Long Beach's Wilson High School, there's concern

"Plan B, I'll probably just go to regular community college, work my way from there and try to head myself into Cal States and universities," said high-school student Ellean Meas.

"And also have Plan B. You've got to look at the city colleges, which are a great option. They're filling up too. But there are colleges outside our area -- sometimes it may be that we have to look at some of the less popular ones. We have to look at other programs, we have to just keep all of our options open," said college counselor Robin Stroka.

And the vice chancellor said in about a month's time they'll have a pretty good idea how bad the budgets crisis is going to be for the CSU system. As far as the priority list is concerned, in-state kids will get top priority. Out of state and international students go to the bottom of the list when it comes to next year's admissions.

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