CSU tuition increase focuses on closing deficit

By Alan Leyva

In a move that has sparked concern among students and their families, the California State University system has approved a multi-year tuition increase as a response to their $1.5 billion  deficit. 

The move was made official in a recent meeting between the CSU board of trustees. This set the stage for significant changes for current and future CSU students and parents across the state. 

The board of trustees voted 15-5 in favor of the hikes, choosing financial stability in opposition of the faculty union and students who disapproved of the change.

The CSU officially announced on their website that under the multi-year tuition proposal, students will see a steady increase in their tuition fees to help address a significant budget deficit. 

The budget deficit was caused by multiple factors, two of the most prominent being a decline in state funding as well as an increase in operational costs within campuses. 

Rachel Tat, who is a transfer mentor at ELAC said, “I don’t understand. Cal States have always been the more affordable option compared to UCs.

 “It’s going to make it harder for students. This year there have been changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and these changes will make it harder for students to apply for it. These new steps, as well as how they calculate aid, there’s a chance that many students will get less aid.” Tat said.

Despite how some may feel, the CSU board believes this is in everyone’s best interest. Steve Relyea, CSU executive vice chancellor & chief financial officer said in an article “CSU Board of Trustees Approves Multi-Year Tuition Proposal” published by the CSU website, “The revenue from the tuition increase is essential to provide the CSU with the financial stability it needs to continue to serve students today and in the future” 

The tuition increase will begin in the fall of 2024. The CSU governing board said in Associated Press article “Facing $1.5B deficit, California State University to hike tuition 6% annually for next 5 years” by Olga R. Rodriguez, “Annual tuition for full-time California undergraduate students will increase by $342 next year to $6,084. By the 2028-2029 school year, those students will be paying $7,682.” 

According to the Cal State Education website, “Priorities for the increased tuition revenue include an increase in funding for the State University Grant program, academic and student services support, basic needs and mental health services, new facilities, ongoing maintenance and more compensation to attract and retain outstanding faculty and staff.” 

The CSU board has worked to provide reassurance to some students who may feel uneasy about this controversial decision. 

CSU board said in “About 60% of CSU undergraduate students whose tuition is fully covered through grants, scholarships, waivers and other non-loan aid will not pay the increase. Another 18% will have the tuition increase partially paid for through non-load aid.” 

The CSU board of trustees said in the AP article, “The five years of the tuition increase will generate a total of $860 million in revenue. Of those funds, $280 million will be committed to financial aid,” school officials said.

The revenue garnered is intended to help narrow the funding gap between CSU’s revenue and costs. 

CSUs have traditionally been seen as a cheaper alternative to UCs. The approximate cost of attendance for UCs is $38,504 per year for in-state residents, compared to $69,710 for non-residents.

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