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You are here: Home Newsroom Our Ideas Themes in the News Archive November 2011 CSU Raises Tuition: Pay Now and Pay Later

CSU Raises Tuition: Pay Now and Pay Later

  • 11-17-2011
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Themes in the News for the week of Nov. 14-18, 2011

On Wednesday, the California State University trustees voted 9-6 to raise tuition by another $500, bringing the yearly total with fees for an undergraduate to $7,000.  The increase will have both immediate and long-term effects.

Hundreds of students protested at the trustees meeting in Long Beach. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a trustee who voted against the measure, said the hike was tantamount to a “tax on the middle class and a tax on our future.” Also opposing the tuition increase, Trustee Jillian Ruddell said, “we need to send the message that students are a priority and education is essential to the success of California” (San Jose Mercury NewsSan Francisco ChronicleLos Angeles Times ).

The increase in tuition comes on the heels of news from the Legislative Analyst’s Office that California is $3.7 billion short of revenue expectations. That shortfall likely will trigger midyear budget cuts, including another $100 million from the CSU system (Business Week).

Cal State Long Beach senior James Suazo said CSU trustees should have advocated on their behalf in Sacramento before choosing to increase tuition for the second time this year. “They need to close the corporate loopholes created by Prop 13. They need to advocate on behalf of students that we can’t afford these.” (KPCC ). 

Referred to as the “People’s University,” the state colleges have 23 campuses across the state that enroll a large portion of first-generation students, minority students and working-class students. According to “Squeezed from All Sides,” a recent report from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles, 86% of CSU students say that it is increasingly difficult for them to make ends meet. More than three quarters reported that fee increases are the cause of their financial challenges. Students are paying more in tuition and taking on jobs or more hours to afford school; meanwhile, they are seeing the conditions on their campuses getting worse—courses cut, larger lectures, longer years to receive a degree.

“I’ve been here a number of years and it’s been an increase every year,” said Kristina Lee, a senior at San Francisco State. “We understand the need for revenue for the university, of course, but these universities were created to be a great leveler” (San Francisco Examiner).

Tuition hikes are an immediate concern regarding access to higher education for current students and graduating seniors. But the effects can trickle down to our k-12 classrooms. 

The Cal State system prepares more teachers and more teachers of color than any other institution in the state. Higher costs at the university could translate into a less diverse teaching force in K-12 schools.

A recent study from the Center for American Progress  found that many states have a great need for more diversity among teachers.  While all states report a smaller proportion of teachers of color than students of color, California has a larger gap than any other state. Research studies have found that a diverse teaching staff is associated with increased student attendance, fewer discipline issues and higher test scores (Washington PostHuffington Post). 

A diversified pool of teachers has the cultural understandings and language capacities to form deep connections to communities. From that pool would come much-needed role models for the next generation’s middle class, including talented and passionate teachers.  

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Weekly Themes In The News

Each Friday “Themes in the News” explores one of the current week’s “breaking news” topics—selected by IDEA staff and its partners—for summary and reflection.   Hyperlinks of the news stories, which are cited, allow readers to explore the theme on their own.