Cal State board votes to increase tuition

LONG BEACH, Calif. The /*UC*/ school system raised its tuition last fall by about 30 percent.

"The board's decision to limit the student fee increase to five percent is based on the Assembly budget proposal that provides additional state revenues. It will allow us to move forward with adding classes and sections for students this fall," said /*CSU*/ Chancellor Charles B. Reed in a statement.

The board also left open the option of revisiting fee levels in November, depending on the state budget.

The increases mean a $204 jump to $4,230 a year for resident undergraduates. Teacher credential students will see their fees rise $234 to $4,908 annually while graduate student fees will go up $252 to $5,214.

Education doctorate students will see a 10 percent increase as fees rise $870 to $9,546 a year.

The board also voted to eliminate an annual cap on tuition that benefitted a small number of out-of-state students who take a high number of classes.

Cal State officials say despite the increase, it would still be a bargain for their students. However, many emotional students testified during Friday's meeting saying they may be forced to drop out due to the fee hikes.

"You guys talk about deficits, and meeting budgets and about being against the wall. Think about what it does to us as students," said student Giada Ramirez.

In addition to tuition hikes, a number of courses have been cut. Students say that with few classes, it's very difficult to graduate in four years.

"When programs are cut at a university, it takes morale from not only the institution, but also the students. Time and money spent on courses that are a part of a program that is cut are a waste," said student Kevin Arantes.

A few of the trustees at Friday's meeting including Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado were against the fee increase.

"Is this the last resort? If we don't do this, do we really cut access or can we cut more at the very, very top of the system?" Maldonado asked.

Officials say they needed the increase now to make sure they have the money to begin offering classes in the fall.

"There is a stark tradeoff between the resources we have available and our ability to admit students and make sure they have courses and make sure they have services," said CSU budget advocate Robert Turnage.

CSU schools, like UC schools, are just not getting enough funding from the state. Officials said they have cut as much as they can cut, and now the only thing left to do is to raise tuition.

However, a lot can change between now and the next school year. It all depends on what the legislature does in Sacramento as lawmakers try to meet their budget against how much they can afford to send to the CSU system.

The Cal State system includes 23 campuses across the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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