CSU board postpones incentive fees

Three proposed graduation incentive fees that were scheduled to be voted on at Tuesday’s CSU Board of Trustees meeting were postponed indefinitely by board chair Bob Linscheid, effectively removing them from consideration for now.

“There was no indication whether the fees will be back or not,” CSU spokesperson Erik Fallis said.

Citing repeated conversations with students and officials, Linscheid said that he felt it was in the best interest of the CSU system to remove the fees—a $372 per-unit charge for every unit taken over 160, a $91 charge for retaking a class, and a $182 per-unit charge for every registered unit over 18 each semester—for further study.

“After the testimony of a number of folks,” Linscheid said, “students in particular, and the outcome of the election on Proposition 30 I felt that in the best interest of the system…to remove that from consideration.”

Prop 30 was the temporary tax increase that, if failed, would have triggered a $250 million cut to the CSU system.

Sean Kiernan, vice president of external affairs for Fresno State’s Associated Students, Inc. called the fees’ postponement a “huge victory” for students.

“It’s proof that our advocacy and our efforts really can have a significant impact,” Kiernan said. “We’ve seen great steps in CSU student leadership and our efforts to have a say in what the state and the trustees do with higher education.”

Kiernan said he felt 90 percent sure that the fees would not return.

“The next board meeting is in January when the new chancellor is in place,” Kiernan said. “I believe it is highly unlikely the new chancellor would try to push this through. The greater probability is that these are not going to happen and have been effectively defeated, but there’s no guarantees.”

During the meeting, Gov. Jerry Brown made an appearance and thanked the board for its efforts in passing prop 30, asking it to delay the fees because of that.

“We have a vote of confidence,” Brown said. “Let’s measure up to the expectation of the voters. The taxpayers got out of their comfort zone. We have to follow suit.”

Kiernan said that Brown’s presence had an effect on consideration of the fees.

“The governor going to the trustee meeting is a huge deal,” Kiernan said. “Gov. Brown is technically a voting member but it’s very rare for a governor to show up. I’m not aware of any instance in which a governor came to a trustee meeting in recent history.”

Ultimately, the postponement means that students will not have to dole out extra cash next semester, and possibly not for a long time.

“The fact these fees are likely defeated is very, very significant,” Kiernan said. “I think it will be a historic moment for both California state history and the CSU.”

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