Our View: Freshmen will find CSULB in a transitional phase

Our View: Freshmen will find CSULB in a transitional phase

Change is something that Cal State Long Beach has been all too familiar with recently.

Following the departure of former CSULB President F. King Alexander, it’s clear that the upcoming academic year will be a bold, new experience, particularly for incoming freshmen.

As most students know, CSULB and higher education have  undergone a series of changes in the past year that will undoubtedly have an impact on the student body this year.

For one, the recent change in student loan interest rates has left us worried.

After being signed into law by President Barack Obama on Aug. 9, House Resolution 1911 retroactively lowered student loan interest rates from 6.8 to 3.9 percent.

Although this change will help students temporarily, we think the drawbacks of the plan far outweigh the benefits.

Since student loan interest rates will now be tied to the national economy, rates could rise to a cap of 8.25 percent for undergraduate loans.

The unpredictable nature of interest rates may harm incoming freshmen since it is likely that their loan rates will fluctuate over the course of their time at CSULB.

Given the possible increase in interest rates, it’s extremely important that freshmen watch where they spend their money, starting now.

CSULB and the Cal State University system are familiar with fee increases and tuition hikes, which is why saving money anywhere you can is especially important during these tough budgetary times.

According to the Cal State University website, in-state tuition plus fees for full-time students was $2,362 in 2003. The rate has more than doubled to $6,240 for 2013, according to the CSU.

Although the history of the CSU’s budget hasn’t been all that great in recent years, there’s hope that we will recover.

Thanks to funds from Proposition 30 and additional state funding provided by Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget, the CSU is in a better financial position than it was last year — but we’re not in the safe zone yet.

The system is recovering from millions of dollars in cuts, which means limited class availability and unit caps for students still exist.

But who knows? If the CSU’s situation continues to improve, or at least doesn’t worsen, future students may not see a unit cap.

Challenges of the coming year will often be tough and unexpected, but we’re certain that if we’ve made it this far, we can make it through another tough year.

After all, not all change is bad. There will be new on-campus shuttles this fall, complete with changes in routes and perimeter seating that can accomodate 32 passengers.

We’ll also have some stability in administration. Even though our president and others have left CSULB, other campus members have filled their shoes to keep us going in the same direction.

We’ll also see the return of last year’s Associated Students Inc. president and vice president, who could help add to that stability.

Regardless of what happens this year, we hope freshmen will come to campus eager to join the CSULB community.

The best way to become a 49er is to get involved. So join a club. Make a trip to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. And if you’re nearby, stop in the Daily 49er newsroom.

We’re here to serve the students, and we value your input.