Facing serious fiscal challenges due to the overwhelming state budget crisis, the California State University Board of Trustees increased undergraduate student fees by $276 for the 2008-09 academic year in today’s meeting.

The student fee increase, which represents $110 million in revenue, had been postponed until May as the CSU worked collaboratively with faculty, staff and students in a series of efforts to highlight the impact of impending budget cuts to the CSU budget. All 23 CSU campuses have held budget forums and demonstrations, urging legislators and the governor to consider how important the state’s investment in public higher education is to California’s economy.

In addition, the CSU has launched an effort in conjunction with the California Community Colleges and the University of California to educate the public and policymakers about the contribution the three systems of public higher education make to the state’s economy and quality of life.

The CSU has already taken measures to deal with the proposed cuts, including closing admissions as of March 1 at all 23 campuses for first time freshmen. As a result, approximately10,000 students will not be admitted in the coming fall term.

“Although the state has not yet adopted next year’s budget, the CSU is increasing fees now in order to provide students enrolled for the fall a reasonable amount of time to plan their finances,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “Students and their families need to know what the fees will be so that they can appropriately plan for next year’s college costs.

“In addition, it is critical for the university to set fees in order to put together student financial aid packages, and to meet federal and state financial aid deadlines.”

The CSU Trustees voted 15 to 3 in favor of the fee increase. Trustees John Garamendi, Melinda Guzman, and the student trustee, Jennifer Reimer cast the dissenting votes.

State University Fees for undergraduate, graduate, and teacher credential students increased by 10 percent.

Effective in fall 2008, fees will increase by $276 for undergraduate students, $324 for teacher credential students and $342 for graduate students.

The university will set aside one-third of the revenue from the fee increase ($36 million) to augment financial aid to cover the fee increase for financially needy students, thus reducing the impact of the fee increase on low income students. Approximately 143,475 students will receive financial aid to offset the fee increase. This represents approximately 75 percent of all financially needy students.

Even with the increase, CSU fees will continue to be among the lowest in the country. The undergraduate State University Fee will go up from the current $2,772 to $3,048 per year. Including the current average campus fee of $749, CSU undergraduate students will pay approximately $3,797 for one academic year, which is less than the lowest fee of public institutions used to benchmark the CSU.

Related links:

2008-09 Fee Increase <http://www.calstate.edu/PA/info/fees-increase-info0809.shtml>

History of CSU Fees <http://www.calstate.edu/pa/info/fees-historical-perspective.shtml>

2007-2008 Comparison Institution Academic Year, Resident Undergraduate, Student Fees <http://www.calstate.edu/pa/info/fees-comparison-institution.shtml>