Image Courtesy of Kate Ozment

CSU approves controversial 6% tuition increase

By Antonia Lopez-Vega, September 26, 2023

Wednesday, Sept. 20, the California State University board of trustees approved a new budget plan increasing the cost of tuition 6% each year for the next five years.

The tuition increase will start the following 2024-2025 school year, and continue until 2029-2030, when the board will meet again to discuss the matter.
The cost will go up to $342 for the first year, and after five years, has an estimated rise of $1,940.
In a meeting with reporters from across the CSU system, Steve Relyea, executive vice chancellor​ and chief financial officer​ of the CSU and Ryan Storm, assistant vice chancellor for the System Budget, presented the reasoning for the plan, as well as answered questions regarding how it would impact students.

Relyea stated CSU Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester created a sustainable financial model work group last year, which consisted of students, faculty, alumni, trustees, presidents, campus chief officers and campus chief academic officers. The group was made in order to create a multiyear strategy to identify stable revenues of support for the university and students.
“After nine months, the group found that costs exceeded the amounts that were expended, creating an expenditure gap and when compared with university revenues, there is a significant funding gap,” said Relyea.

Storm defended the proposition by stating, “One of the many reasons for the proposed tuition increase is to introduce tuition stability and predictability.”

Storm expanded by detailing the fluctuations the price of tuition has gone through in past years.
“Tuition was held flat for 11 of the last 12 years, that helped maintain affordability for as many students as possible and kept the CSU as one of the most affordable institutions of higher education in the country,” said Storm. “However, the absence of a tuition increase has prevented the CSU from having sufficient resources to keep up with rising costs.”

Ysabel Trinidad, the vice president for Administration and Finance and CFO, shared CPP will now take the tuition increase into account for the 24-25 school year budget planning.

Image Courtesy of Kate Ozment

Trinidad explained the increased funds are intended to go back to the students. She specifically mentioned hiring enough faculty to ensure there are enough courses to meet student demand.
She said the school hopes to hire more faculty, as well as provide “competitive salaries for and benefits for faculty and staff.”

Other things Trinidad shared the budget planning committee hopes to accomplish is advancing the “learning environment for students.” She referred to updating outdated technology and “refreshing” the classrooms and labs as well.

“We recognize to make that environment conducive for both students and the faculty,” said Trinidad.
As for means for students to track how the new funds are being spent and used, there is no tracker or anything in place. Trinidad shared the improvements are how it will be noticed.
“The increase in academic support, the addition of additional tutoring or mentoring advising. That would result in less wait times, more responsiveness to students on the types of programs that they are seeking services for,” said Trinidad.

The Financial Aid department clarified how the tuition would affect student’s finance.
“If this goes through, one of the things that will automatically happen is the amount of funding that we receive as part of the State University grant will increase as well. There is a direct correlation between what the student tuition fee is, what the system wide tuition fee is and what the State University grant is,” explained Charles Conn, the associate director of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
Conn clarified students whose tuition is fully covered by FAFSA will still have it covered, and for those who don’t, they aim to “minimize the impact on students as much as possible.”

Jessica M. Wagoner, the senior associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Services, advised students who may not have their tuition covered to still apply for FAFSA, and apply for scholarships.

Feature Image courtesy of Kate Ozment

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