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California State University System Approves 5 Percent Tuition Hike

Students walk to class with Kadema Hall in the background. Sacramento State Facebook page/Jessica Vernone

Students across the California State University system will need to dig a bit deeper to pay for tuition starting next fall.
CSU trustees approved a 5 percent tuition increase Wednesday despite vocal opposition from students and some state leaders.

The move affects nearly 40 percent of the system’s in-state undergraduates.

Graduate students will also pay more.

Trustees argued the hike was necessary to pay for more faculty, classes and to speed up the time it takes to graduate.

They also said a lack of state funding had put them in this position, an argument rejected by Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration.

"There's zero joy in considering this item before us today. And we're here because the state has consistently and persistently underfunded this institution," Trustee Peter Taylor said at the meeting. "It’s an embarrassment, an embarrassment that we’re stuck with this awful choice between access and quality.”

A spokesman for the Brown Administration’s finance department, however, said the state has increased CSU funding in recent years, and plans a 4 percent increase in its latest budget.

Students speak out

At the meeting, Cal State Fullerton student Ashley Rojo told trustees she feels education is under attack from Washington D.C. to California.

“It is now imperative that you all realize that we have to protect the future of education and protect our most vulnerable students from fear, deportation and financial strain,” Rojo said.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is a CSU trustee, urged his fellow trustees not to approve the tuition hike and to “put pressure back on the state and Legislature” to provide more funding.

Several additional trustees, including California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, opposed the tuition hike but failed to convince a majority of the board to reject it.

The increase means undergrads will now pay more than $5,700 per year for their education.

CSU officials said more than 60 percent of undergrads receive student aid that covers the entire cost of their tuition.

CSU last raised tuition in 2011.

In January, the UC Regents raised in-state tuition 2.5 percent for undergraduates across the University of California system.

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