Possible rise in student fees

By Sandra Emerson

The California State University budget situation could result in
a possible 10 percent budget cut and a 10 percent tuition increase
in the next academic year, resulting in fewer classes and still
handing executives higher paychecks.

Cal Poly, one of the 23 schools in the CSU system, will feel the
direct impact of a budget cut and tuition increase.

There have been no budget cuts to date, but the governor told
state departments, including the CSU, to prepare for a possible 10
percent cut.

The Cal State Board of Trustees, which is in charge of
overseeing the California State University, discussed the CSU
budget and a proposal to Gov. Schwarzenegger for an additional $73
million during meetings on Nov. 13 and 14.

Paul Browning, a CSU spokesperson, believes Cal Poly will not be
affected if the CSU receives the $73 million dollars from the
state.

“If we get everything we’re asking for, it shouldn’t affect Cal
Poly Pomona at all,” said Browning. “We should get all funding that
is required. If we don’t, then cuts have to be made.”

Browning said the CSU will need the extra $73 million to avoid a
10 percent tuition increase.

“There are three sources from which the money comes from: the
state general fund, the CSU general fund and student fees,” said
Browning. “If we don’t get all of the money we’re looking for, then
raising student fees is necessary.”

Gwen Urey, president of the Pomona chapter of the CFA, believes
students are already struggling with tuition prices.

“I think this is a very bad thing,” said Urey. “I think it’s
short-sighted on the part of the trustees and state to raise
tuition 10 percent every year. It is turning the CSU into less of
an institution for the people of California.”

Although the board recently passed an 11.8 percent increase for
executive salaries, it expects tuition to rise unless the state is
able to provide the desired amount of money.

In a teleconference on Nov. 14 with Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, the
issues on tuition fees were addressed.

Garamendi said he did not vote for increased tuition and
believes students and faculty should take a stand in order to keep
public higher education affordable for qualified students.

Garamendi is also planning on asking for a tuition freeze to
stop the annual increase and encourages students to voice their
opinion.

“This could take a period of time,” said Garamendi. “Maybe even
years, but we can change this and make the legislators know why
it’s important to have publicly funded universities.”

On Nov. 14, students and parents at UC Berkeley, with the help
of Students and Families for Tuition Relief, a group of students
and parents against raising tuition, filed a student-led ballot
aiming to freeze tuition prices for the next five years for UC and
CSU schools.

If enacted, this will require revenue to be generated from a 1
percent tax on incomes more than $1 million. Administrators will
also be required to report to a panel of students on where money is
spent.

Garamendi stressed the importance of having a public higher
education system for people to have the opportunity to earn
degrees. He also said rising tuition fees discourage those who see
going to college as a financial burden.

“Higher public education is almost entirely funded through
public resources in the state of California,” said Garamendi.
“Since fees have kept going up, it has closed the door on numerous
students. While loans and Cal Grants may be available, students
take out large amounts of loans, their parents get stressed and
then they say they can’t do it and go out and get jobs.”

Lillian Taiz, president of the CFA, voiced her beliefs on the
negative effects tuition hikes have had on students during the
conference.

“UC and CSU students have found their fees nearly doubled over
last five years,” said Taiz. “You’re getting less for your money.
Student fees are really out of control. Students can’t get classes
they need because of course cuts and at the same time are seeing
fees raised by astronomical rates.”

The state is facing a $10 billion budget gap due to the slumping
housing and credit market.

“Even when the housing market was going great in 2003, 2004 and
2005, the trustees were raising tuition every year by 10 percent,”
said Urey. “There has also been an event saying that all state
agents will have to have a 10 percent cut, but we should look at
these two things separately.”

The final proposal for the budget will go to the governor in
January when he will decide on a draft budget for the following
fiscal year.

If the board’s request for extra money is declined, the tuition
spike will start in the 2008-2009 academic year.

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