Nicole Miyoshi | The Poly Post

The CSU needs to stop raising cost of tuition

By Ryan Leon, Mar. 19, 2024

The California State University Board of Trustees agreed to increase the tuition cost of all 23 CSU campuses Sept. 13, 2023. At the start of the 2024-2025 academic year, the cost to attend a CSU will increase by 6% annually until the 2028-2029 academic year. This is a substantial problem because paying for college is already difficult enough.  

One of the largest hurdles people face when deciding whether they should go to college is how much it will cost them. The price of tuition varies by university. Cal States, University of California schools and private institutions all have their own fees, with the latter being the most expensive. The last thing anyone with hopes of a college education wants to hear is, “You can’t afford this.”   

I know exactly what it feels like to be in that situation. Upon my acceptance to the University of La Verne, a private institution, I felt extremely excited. That excitement, however, quickly turned into sorrow. I came to the realization that I was not going to be able to afford a private education. Thankfully, I was able to turn to the CSU system – whose education is much more affordable. However, that affordability is now being threatened.   

According to an article from the Associated Press: “Annual tuition for full-time California undergraduate students will increase by $342 next year to $6,084. By the 2028-2029 school year, those students will be paying $7,682.” With just under a $1,600 tuition increase, hopeful college students will have to decide whether they can afford that extra amount of dough just to get a degree.   

To put things into perspective, the disparity between the cost of tuition at CSUs and the University of La Verne is staggering. By the 2024-2025 academic year, students at La Verne will be paying $24,275 per semester. That means La Verne students will be paying $48,550 annually as opposed to the $6,084 CSU students will pay. This disparity should be preserved so that CSUs remain financially attainable.   

Of course, there are options students have that can help alleviate the stress of paying for tuition – primarily through loans and financial aid. That’s great for students who qualify, but not everyone has that luxury. For example, undocumented students do not have access to federal financial aid, making that option pointless.   

Nicole Miyoshi | The Poly Post

The article provides further insight to this issue when it states, “Angelie Taylor, a junior at Cal State Channel Islands in Camarillo, California, said an increase in tuition will likely derail her because she is already working three part-time jobs to pay for tuition and cover housing and other expenses.”   

Taylor’s situation is a troubling one for anybody to be in, let alone trying to earn a degree to get out of it. It is even worse when financial aid is not an option. The article goes on to say that Taylor cannot be considered for financial aid because of her low GPA. Taylor’s poor GPA is due to the abundance of jobs she works just to stay afloat.   

Most people, myself included, would rather earn their degree debt free. If the cost of CSU tuition continues to rise, then more and more students – like Taylor or myself – may find it difficult to pay for college.   

On the contrary, a statement about the increase from the CSU insists that, “The plan benefits current and prospective students in three important ways: 1) provide the necessary resources for each university to further the CSU’s core values of equitable excellence and access; 2) provide tuition stability and predictability for students and parents; and 3) enhance financial aid and affordability for those students with the greatest financial need.”   

Even though there are positive claims being made, they do not justify a price hike. What exactly are the necessary resources that students do not already have? Students and parents should not have to guess whether the tuition cost is feasible either; they should be certain. As for the financial aid claim, that will not do any good for the students who do not qualify. Moreover, claiming a tuition increase enhances “affordability” comes off as disingenuous.   

What students really need is financially attainable tuition costs. They can only receive that if the CSU ceases to increase its tuition. The CSU’s affordability was there for me when the overwhelming cost of college tuition would have prevented me from ever pursuing a college degree. I hope it continues to be there for future generations.  

Feature Image courtesy of Casey Villalon 

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