Last Monday, the Chancellor’s Office invited California State University campus newspapers to partake a phone conference to discuss a 9 percent tuition increase for the fall semester while reducing additional student services.
Officials from the Chancellor’s Office said that CSU will be collecting about $138 million in revenues from this new tuition increase. Even with this increase “we have about $400 million less in resources,” assistant vice chancellor of budget Robert Turnage said.
Turnage also added that these new increases will not affect all students since 45 percent of students are not paying for college because they are receiving financial aid. Students who pay for tuition every semester also get a tax deduction for every dollar they spend if their parents make less than $180,000 in adjustable income every year, Turnage said.
“If a student asked me they could not afford tuition, I would ask, ‘Have you filed for financial aid or the tax credit?,’” Turnage said. “I hope nobody is dropping out because they can’t afford the tuition increase.”
Turnage also added that some students who before struggled to pay tuition were undocumented students who under AB 540 paid the increasing in-state tuition. Now, because of the passage of the California DREAM Act, students can now afford it.
“The state is subsidizing all students, just some are getting a bigger [subsidy] than others,” Turnage added.
Officials are attempting to encourage the California government to buy out the $138 million tuition increase so that students don’t have to pay it.
Turnage said that even with the tuition increases, students still pay a “sticker price” lower than any other university in California.
Dr. Lisa Weston, chair of the English department and California Faculty Association, said education at a CSU is cheaper compared to private institution or a University of California but that many students can’t still afford the rising costs.
“It can be the cheapest Lexus in the block, but if you can’t afford a Lexus, you can’t afford a Lexus,” Weston said.
Officials also discussed the faculty strike CFA scheduled on Nov. 17 at Dominguez Hills and East Bay campuses, both CSU institutions.
“There is a lot of frustration. Everyone in the administration shares this frustration that we cannot do for students what we want to do,” Turnage said. “We should not focus this anger internally instead of at the door of Sacramento.”
The Chancellor’s Officials also added that there have been no wage increases for CSU campuses’ presidents since 2007 and that administrators that have received raises have been because of promotions.
“The faculty received one in 2008 when no one else got one,” Turnage said.
Officials also added that of all the promotional opportunities half were to faculty.
“The devil is in the detail,” Weston said. “When a new president has come on, that president has been given a salary that is significantly higher than the president he was replacing,” Weston said, referring to the president at San Diego State and other university presidents.
She added that administrators have gotten raises “including administrators at Fresno State. The case has been made that they do more work, but faculty are also doing more work on a daily basis, but we haven’t received extra money,” Weston added.
Chancellor’s officials said additional administrative cuts and other identified non-sustainable cuts to minimize spending are being considered.
These identified non-sustainable cuts include restricting enrolling, raising average classes and other cuts to student services. To bring more money to CSU, the Chancellor’s office had developed a budget plan for California governor Jerry Brown to add to his budget.
“We will know in January what he thinks,” Turnage said.
If the new budget is accepted, it would restore student access, meet demand and enroll 20,000 students that are depending on this budget.
“We now estimate $2 billion in financial aid available to CSU students. This allows us to protect 40 percent of our undergraduate students,” Turnage said.
On Nov. 17 Weston said CSU faculty will protest “broken promises, particularly the chancellor priorities because the two items that are up for picketing have to do with part of our contract, which the chancellor decided not to honor.”
Weston added that CFA is asking for raises they were supposed to get in the past that was budgeted, but the chancellor decided to use the money for other things.
“The chancellor is always very quick to cry ‘oh there is no money’ when it comes to ‘we must increase student tuition or class sizes,’” Weston said.
“There is enough money to hire a president at a high price,” Weston added. “There is always money around if you want to give a rise to union-busting labor consultants who are paid by the day and who get over $4,000 a day.”
Fresno State students will gather in the Free Speech area Wednesday Nov. 16 from 2 to 3 p.m. to support CFA.