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Students protest prospect of tuition hike


A group of California State University students carried out a protest this week as the CSU Board of Trustees began two days of meetings, during which it will review a financial report that includes the possibility of a roughly 5 percent tuition increase.

Although the board is not scheduled to take any action on a tuition hike during its meetings this week, the issue is raised in a presentation on the CSU system’s 2017-18 Support Budget Request to the state.

The possibility of a tuition hike was first raised by the CSU in September, prompting meetings with the California State Student Association and other affected groups.

According to a staff report prepared by CSU Chief Financial Officer Steve Relyea and Assistant Vice Chancellor Ryan Storm, a potential 5-percent tuition hike would jump in-state undergraduate tuition from $5,472 a year to $5,742, generating up to $77.5 million in revenue systemwide.

“Coupled with similar proposed maximum increases to non-resident tuition, as well as graduate, doctoral and teacher-credential programs, the potential increase would generate new revenue in 2017-2018 to partially support the board’s priorities,” according to the report.

The report notes that CSU officials’ highest priority will be to advocate for increased state funding to overcome an anticipated $167.6 million shortfall. However, the actual amount of the state’s funding allocation to the CSU won’t be known until June 2017.

Members of a group known as Students for Quality Education gathered outside the Chancellor’s Office beginning about 6 a.m. The group contends that while tuition has been frozen for four years, the cost of attending CSU increased by 283 percent between 2002 and 2012.

“Students are already suffering from homelessness, hunger and fair access and affordability to their higher education,” according to the group.

Tuition increases are not an option, as students and members of SQE are advocating.

Protesters staged a “die-in,” complete with depictions of headstones, and voiced opposition to any tuition hike “that will force more students to drop out of college.”