SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A potential tuition increase is looming for Cal State University students.
CSU trustees say it's necessary to close a massive funding gap, but the proposed 6% tuition increase over the next five years has CSU students concerned.
For the 2024-2025 school year, it would mean an extra $342. Many college students say every cent of that for them is significant.
"That means I really can't afford food and gas," said Matusala Ykeallo, a student at San Jose State University, "I don't get financial aid, even though I've been trying to get it for a while because I'm a little bit lower than middle class."
The increase is proposed to help close a $1.5 billion funding gap according to the chancellor's office.
In a statement, the office wrote:
"The CSU has been and will continue to be a careful and prudent steward of the resources entrusted to it. The system faces continual and growing cost pressures-an increased need to expand high-cost degree offerings, inflation, unfunded mandates, as well as infrastructure needs growing over time. For example, inflation grew by 39% from 2011-12 through 2022-23 while tuition increased 5%-or $270 during that period. To ensure the CSU continues to provide an accessible, high-quality education to current and future generations of Californians, additional financial resources are required to deliver on this commitment."
Dominic Quan Treseler is president of the Cal State Student Association and also a San Jose State Student. He says an increase will hit students across the state hard.
"The most expensive place to rent in the nation is San Jose and the Bay area as a whole," Treseler said, "This is going to have dramatic impacts."
"$342 dollars it's a modest request, it's really a modest request," said Jean Picker Firstenberg, a member of the CSU Board of Trustees at a Tuesday meeting where the board discussed the increase.
"When you look at tuition and fees, we're thousands of dollars under everybody else, there must be a reason for that. Even after a five year increase, we're still going to be under everybody else."
Treseler says downplaying the potential increase on students is out of touch and hopes that funding can come from other places.
"Continuing, as we have done in collaboration for years to lobby the state for additional funding to look towards the federal government for some additional revenues and focus that issue a little harder," he said.
"Looking for kind of private or philanthropic dollars for on a campus by campus basis."
The board of trustees will vote on the proposal in September.