CSU fees climbing steadily

Starting in fall 2005, student fees at the California State University (CSU) system will once again increase, this time by 8 percent.

According to Clara Potes-Fellow, CSU media relations manager, the university will increase its annual fees by $187 for residential undergraduates.

“The increase is a part of a compact signed by the CSU’s Chancellor and [by] Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger,” Potes-Fellow said. “Because of the state’s deficit, we aren’t able to receive the same kind of funding we have in the past.”

The higher education compact agreed to in May 2004 by both the chancellor and the governor states that the CSU should move forward on planning their budget with the assumption that the fees will rise by 8 percent for both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 years.

Potes-Fellow said the 2005-06 increase of both fees and enrollment growth revenue will generate approximately $101.2 million in new revenue to help fund the critical needs of CSU campuses across the state.

In the past, the CSU has been able to keep fees relatively steady. However, with the budget crisis the state is experiencing, they have not been able to keep up with the same kind of consistency.

“We need the money for student enrollment, instructional cost, and to pay competitive salaries,” Potes-Fellow said. “We have to be able to maintain the same integrity as many other colleges and we have to get revenue in order to pay these costs.”

Over the next six years, the higher education compact promises to fund at least 2.5 percent annual enrollment growth. This will allow the CSU system to curtail enrollment decreases that have taken place in the past two years because of past fee increases.

According to CSU Chancellor, Charles B. Reed, the fee increase has to happen in order for CSU campuses to remain open.

Reed said in a written statement that he would be working with the governor and legislative leaders to ensure that the CSU system will receive its fair share and proper funding from the state. However students must understand the new revenue goes right back into the CSU system and not the general fund.

Skyline Student Suzie Portafilla is planning to transfer to CSU Hayward in the fall 2005 semester. She wasn’t aware of the higher education compact or the increase and fears she may have to put off her schooling for a while.

“I can’t believe fees are going up again,” Portafilla said. “This may put me back a semester or two so I can save money. The schools are making it harder for low-income students to attend. Even with financial aid, it’s becoming more impossible.”

The compact calls for an 8 percent increase from a statewide average of $2,334 to $2,520 for 2005-2006. Although the general feeling about this news appears grim, there are those students who understand the necessity of the raise.

Skyline student Antonio Ramirez said the increase does not bother him, and he is willing to pay the extra money for a good education.

“This state offers a higher education at a fraction of the cost it would be in other states,” Ramirez said. “I understand the cost of living is on the high end, but we still get to attend college dirt cheap, and students really need to appreciate it. Our state is in a financial crisis. And the colleges aren’t getting the same amount of funding. So, they do need to get the money from somewhere, so why not the students?”