SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California State University students are bracing for higher tuition bills after the 23-campus system's governing board approved a plan Wednesday to raise fees 15.5 percent by next fall.
The CSU Board of Trustees voted 14-2 to increase tuition for undergraduate, graduate and credential programs for the 2011 winter and spring terms. By a 13-3 vote, they approved another 10 percent hike next fall, when California undergrads will pay $4,884 for an academic year.
University officials said they need to raise student fees again to offset deep cuts in state funding that have led to staff furloughs, fewer courses and enrollment reductions over the past year.
The CSU system, which currently has about 430,000 students, receives the same amount of money from the state as it did five years ago even though it has 25,000 more students, said Executive Vice Chancellor Benjamin Quillian.
The full board's vote came a day after the finance committee approved the increases in tuition, which have already risen by more than 30 percent over the past year.
Dozens of CSU students protested outside university headquarters in Long Beach, where the board meeting was held. At the meeting, many spoke out against the fee hikes and urged the trustees to work harder to secure more state support.
"It just places a bigger burden on us students who are trying to pay for school and trying to graduate," said Ruben Vazquez, 21, a senior majoring in aerospace engineering at Cal Poly Pomona. "It just really discourages us from continuing to pursue our education."
By fall 2011, tuition will increase by $444 per year for in-state undergraduates, $516 for credential program students and $546 for graduate students.
About one-third of the tuition hike revenue will be set aside for financial aid. About half of CSU undergrads — 180,000 students — have their tuition fully covered by university, state or federal aid, officials said.
The CSU board also adopted a budget for the 2011-12 school year that asks the cash-strapped state to provide an additional $121.5 million to "buy out" the 10-percent tuition increase. If approved, the university would rescind the fall 2011 fee hike the board just approved.
"We are hopeful that the incoming governor and the Legislature will realize the importance of providing the funding to support the services critical for the success of these students," said CSU Chancellor Charles Reed.
Next week, the University of California's Board of Regents will vote on raising tuition by 8 percent at the 10-campus system. If approved, UC undergrads would pay $11,124 in annual tuition, which doesn't include individual campus fees or room and board.