Trailing the announcement of a potential increase in tuition last November, the Cal State University Board of Trustees met Tuesday to discuss the issue again in more concrete terms.
Going into the 2018-2019 academic and fiscal year, the board is requiring a state investment of $263 million and an additional $19.9 million in tuition revenue for their plan of five areas of investment, according to the Committee of Trustees’ minutes from the meeting.
These areas of funding include the second year of Graduation Initiative 2025, compensation increases for all employee groups, enrollment growth of 1 percent, investment in critical infrastructure and mandatory cost increases for health care, minimum wage and retirement for faculty.
Despite the state budget plan promising continued investment in higher education systems, only about $92.1 million is being allocated to the Cal State system. This will leave a $171 million gap that the board has two plans to close, the primary of which is an increase in tuition for students beginning fall 2018.
The price hike would affect undergraduate students, with an increase of $228 per student, bringing annual tuition to $5,970 and creating about $69.8 million in new revenue to support the system’s operating budget. Though it wouldn’t completely close the budget gap, the board acknowledges that it would “allow for some investments to be made in critical areas,” according to approach B in the committee of finance agenda.
Students around campus have reacted in response to the announcement of a tuition hike, some noting the school’s focus of spending on non-academic areas as a sign of improper spending.
“I think it’s a load of bologna, because they put [up] that big ‘Go Beach’ sign and I think it’s a waste of money,” 21-year-old sociology major Brandon Montiel said. “Why raise tuition for stuff like that when it should be allocated toward things like student retention or more tutoring? I think it’s a waste of money and I want to know how they’re spending it.”
Montiel said he wanted to know how much money is going into the board of directors’ budgets, which is a subject that the Students for Quality Education is working on bringing awareness to the public on this issue.
Asia Gonzalez, a member of the student-run organization, expressed that while she and other members are frustrated by these developments, they’ve also seen it coming.
“We predicted the raise in tuition since last November, and since they raised the tuition last time, we were upset but not surprised,” said Gonzalez a political science major.
According to Gonzalez, the Cal State Long Beach chapter of Students for Quality Education had been planning a big protest similar to the action they took last year. However, the board of trustees had moved their building since then, forcing the student group to shelve their plans for now. The pro-education organization plans to lobbying for a senator to increase the budget for educational services.
Gonzalez added that members of the student organization have expressed concern about the allocation of funds by the board of trustees.