LONG BEACH, Calif.–The California State University Board of Trustees approved a 9 percent tuition hike for the 2012-13 school year today, despite a vocal student protest that disrupted the panel’s meeting as police tried to usher people out of the meeting room.
After the confrontation between students and police erupted, the board members reconvened in a different room and approved the tuition hike on a 9-6 vote. Tuition will increase by $498, meaning undergraduate student fees will go from $5,472 in 2011-12 to $5,970 for 2012-13. With campus-specific fees added in, the total cost for undergraduate students would be just more than $7,000 for the full year.
The increase will be on top of a 12 percent tuition hike that took effect this school year, and a 9 percent increase that was imposed in 2010.
CSU officials said the proposed increase is necessitated by continued cuts in state funding, which they say has been slashed by $650 million in recent years, with another $100 million cut possible next month.
The board, however, was also expected to request an additional $138.3 million in state funding, and if it is approved, would eliminate the need for the boost in tuition.
More than 150 angry protesters descended on the board’s meeting, with most being forced to stand outside due to limited seating in the board’s meeting room. Students and other protesters inside the meeting eventually clashed with police, forcing the board to take a break.
The skirmish between police and protesters eventually led to officers using pepper spray, and a glass door was shattered. At least one officer suffered cuts from the broken glass.
Police in riot gear eventually surrounded the plaza outside the building.
It was not immediately clear if anyone was arrested, although at least three people were handcuffed at the scene.
According to CSU officials, the availability of financial aid will mean about 45 percent of the university system’s students would not be impacted by the tuition hike.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a member of the CSU Board of Trustees, said he opposed the tuition hike.
“We have an obligation to our students and their families to send a strong message to Sacramento that our higher education system and economy cannot meet its potential unless this catastrophic trend is reversed,” he said.