Board of Trustees to discuss creating three new student fees
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 03:09
The Cal State University Board of Trustees is expected to vote next week on new fees that would charge students for taking heavy loads of units, delaying graduation and repeating classes, regardless of the passage of Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative.
The Board also plans to discuss potential budget strategies that ride entirely upon the outcome of the November election, which includes Proposition 30.
Prop. 30 proposes temporary increases on both California sales tax and income taxes for individuals earning more than $250,000 per year. If passed, the tax measure would help maintain state funding for the CSU system.
However, despite whether Prop. 30 passes this November, the Board expects to vote on three new undergraduate resident fees recommended by the finance committee that would commence in fall 2013: the graduation incentive fee, course repeat fee and third-tier tuition fee.
Altogether, the fees would generate approximately $35 million for the CSU in 2013-14, according to the committee’s agenda.
CSU Spokesman Erik Fallis said the recommended fees are based on providing students as much access as possible to their required classes.
“We are concerned about students who are still working on their 120 initial units but are unable to get the classes they need to graduate or unable to get a full load,” Fallis said.
The graduation incentive fee would require seniors with 150 units or more to pay an additional fee per unit. The increase would equal the current fee non-residents pay, which stands at $372 per unit.
Under the course repeat fee, students retaking a course would pay $100 per semester unit. Those students would also not be allowed to register for more than 15 units that semester.
The third-tier fee would charge students extra for taking more than 16 units in a semester. For each additional unit, students would pay $200 per semester unit.
The California State Student Association has not taken a stance on the recommended fees, but Vice President of Legislative Affairs Pedro Ramirez said the fees address the realities that the CSU system is facing and encourages students to graduate.
“If you are staying here longer [or] taking on another major, it kind of does penalize students, but it makes it more fair for all students,” Ramirez said.
Associated Students, Inc. President John Haberstroh said that though he understands the intent of the fees, which is to encourage student to complete their degrees, he does not think the proposed fees are “viable solutions to the current budgetary problems in the CSU.”
“I propose, unofficially, that the revenue generated by these proposed fees be used to help fund academic advising programs to help keep students on a path to a timely graduation rather than shuffling them out in a hurry by placing a financial burden on them,” Haberstroh said via email. “ASI has not taken an official stance yet, but I’m sure that a resolution will come up through the pipeline soon.”
The rest of the budget proposal by the committee, which the Board will discuss at its next meeting, depends upon the passage or the failure of Prop. 30.
Should Brown’s tax measure fail, the system would face a $250 million trigger cut, for which the committee recommends increasing tuition by approximately 5 percent, starting in the spring semester and continuing into the next academic year.
The CSU would generate $58 million in 2012-13 and $116 million the following year from the tuition increase.
The committee also recommends raising tuition supplement fees for non-resident students, who compose about 4 percent of the student body, by 7 percent, according to Fallis. Non-residents currently pay $11,160 per year in tuition supplement, in addition to the standard tuition fee.
Whatever the outcome in November, Fallis said that campus and system-wide adjustments will need to be made in order to accommodate budget deficits.
“This is going to happen one way or another,” Fallis said.
The CSU Board of Trustees will hold its meeting at Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach on Sept. 18 and 19.