CSU, News

Associated Students, Inc. plans to lobby for a tuition freeze

Associated Students, Inc. officials are sending the student representatives from Lobby Corps to Sacramento on March 13 to lobby against the tuition increase.

“There aren’t enough student voices in the Board of Trustees,” said Senator-at-large Hilda Jurado. “Out of the 25 members of the BOT, there’s only one student voting member who’s supposed to be the voice of half a million students.”

The student senators plan to address their lack of representation in the California State University Board of Trustees at the March 13 meeting.

The four main issues that the ASI Lobby Corps are pushing for pertain to the tuition increase, undocumented students’ funding for school, homelessness and food security.

Senator-at-large Daniel Gomez cites frustrations with the CSU BOT on the timing of the tuition hike, a systemwide 5 percent increase in tuition .

In 2012, there was a tuition freeze that lasted four years. Gomez said he was under the impression that “something was being worked out” with the BOT and that there wouldn’t ever be a tuition increase.

“I didn’t see [the tuition increase] coming,” Gomez said. “What’s frustrating is: what has the BOT been doing these past four years? I can tell what they haven’t been doing – securing long-term funding sources that are sustainable to fund the CSU.”

Gomez said the timing of the increase couldn’t be any worse, especially with the current political climate. The tuition increase goes hand-in-hand with the other issues ASI plans to address in Sacramento, specifically Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

“The president is threatening to cut funds for public higher education,” Gomez said. “Our Pell grants and loans are in jeopardy. Our DACA students are in jeopardy as well [in regards to] how they’re going to get the money to pay for tuition.”

ASI’s Opposing Payment Peaks Resolution is trying to solve this issue by putting pressure on the BOTs to suspend its current initiatives, thus freezing the tuition hike. In the Sacramento meeting, ASI plans to pressure the BOTs through lobbying legislators.

“We’re encouraging the CSU BOT to reevaluate its priorities,” Jurado said.

One of BOT’s priorities is the Graduation 2025 Initiative, which assigns different task forces to increase graduation rates to meet the campus’ 2025 goals of raising four-year graduation rates to 40 percent.

Gomez said ASI is against the initiative due to its timing. “A 2025 initiative is going to cost us $75 million. Why does that need to be a concern right now?” he said.

A new bill was presented online Friday, and both senators plan to adopt it into the O.P.P. Resolution. Assembly Bill 393, authored by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva for the 65th District, “requires that the amounts of tuition and mandatory systemwide fees … not be increased … until the completion of the 2019-20 academic year.”

AB 393 is in line with Gomez and Jurado’s vision of a tuition freeze. “I think the new piece of legislation that came out on Friday will help us a lot in that regard,” Gomez said.

ASI’s intention to suspend the hike already has the support of Assemblymember for the 63rd District Anthony Rendon, according to Gomez.

While ASI’s representatives are in Sacramento, its officials will continue providing student outreach to inform students on what’s going on campus.

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