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Students plan to protest CSU tuition hikes

A protest against the California State University’s tuition increase will take place outside of Brotman Hall on Feb. 28 at 12:15 p.m.

The vote for the multi-year tuition increase took place on Sept. 13, 2023. Tuition for Cal State students will increase 6% every year for five years starting in the 2024-25 school year. It will total to a 34% increase.

Students Against Tuition Hikes, a coalition associated with the student organization La F.U.E.R.Z.A and the Long Beach chapter of Students for Quality Education, will lead the protest. SATH was founded in August 2023 to help students voice their opposition to tuition increases.

Three La F.U.E.R.Z.A members are smoothing out a white poster that has the phrase "Walkout!!! If you hate tuition hikes" in red paint. There are black boots with the words "CSU students" on the foot of the boot drawing. The photo was taken in front of the Liberal Arts 5 building. Three members are standing in a row; two of them are holding the corners of the poster while one is holding a broom to smooth the paper out.
Three La F.U.E.R.Z.A members drop a banner in front of the Liberal Arts 5 building with the phrase “Walkout!!! If you hate tuition hikes” to spread the word for the tuition increase protest next week. Photo credit: Jd Preslicka

“It is my job to give all these students a platform to speak their minds,” Luis Ortiz, a student organizer for SQE and SATH, said. “This protest and this organizing that we’re doing, the strategies that we’re doing, are gonna help students get that.”

Via email, CSU Public Affairs Manager Hazel Kelly addressed students’ disappointment regarding the increase.

“The CSU recognizes that students would likely never be in favor of a tuition increase,” Kelly said. “But it was necessary to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the CSU and its ability to provide students with an accessible high-quality education that prepares them for success in California’s fast-evolving workforce.”

The CSU’s Financial Aid Workgroup is exploring ways to expand the university’s financial aid structure to provide increased support for students.

“Approximately 60% of CSU students will not be affected by the tuition increase,” Kelly said.

SQE members rallied outside of the Chancellor's Office with big white flags with decals. One person is holding a microphone and speaking to a crowd in front of them.
SQE joined forces with CFA to rally outside the Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach for a fair contract for lecturers in Nov. 2021. Photo credit: Luis Ortiz

In California, the cost of housing and food are rapidly increasing among college students. This makes sudden cost spikes difficult to manage. A report revealed that 10% of students experience homelessness throughout a year, while 41% of students encounter food insecurity.

“As much as we are an HSI, a Hispanic Serving Institution, we know those numbers are going to dwindle when the prices go up, because these kids come from low-income backgrounds so they won’t be able to afford to come here,” Ortiz said. “So what does that mean for the future of our organizations? We’re gonna see less membership, we’re gonna see our traditions die.”

Ortiz and La F.U.E.R.Z.A supporters hope the protest will remind Long Beach students their voices are needed and they can speak up frequently against changes they do not agree with.

“The way the institution is set up is not meant to benefit us,” Ortiz said, “So if the BOT (CSU Board of Trustees), the Chancellor or the governor of the state and this CSU system are not going to fight for us, then the students will.”

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