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Trustees OK Higher CSU Fees : Education: Students will pay 10% more next year, but the board votes to request enough state funding to avoid another increase for 1996-97.

October 21, 1994|ALICIA DI RADO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONG BEACH — Amid student protests over escalating costs, California State University trustees on Thursday approved a 10% increase in student fees next year.

In a last-minute amendment, however, the trustees unanimously voted to request that the Legislature and governor allocate enough extra money to the CSU system--about $37 million--so that a fee increase can be avoided the following year.

"Our objective is to have no fee increase," CSU Chancellor Barry Munitz told student representatives. "But if you want us to keep retaining excellent faculty and staff to serve students, this is what we have to do. There are very few choices."

Cal State Fullerton President Milton A. Gordon insisted that CSU officials do not want to increase fees. However, he said, officials have little choice, because the state has not been providing enough money to the system to keep pace with changing technology and student needs.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday October 22, 1994 Orange County Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Column 4 Orange County Focus Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
College fees--California State University trustees approved a 10% fee increase for the 1995-96 school year but voted to try to get the money from the Legislature first. Due to an editing error in Friday's edition, the sequence of events was misstated.

"Eventually, people will realize the impact of having a non-first-rate higher education system," Gordon warned. "They'll see it in their daily lives. They'll see they're paying more and more for (elementary and secondary) education and won't be getting a return in a well-educated work force."

The fee increase, if adopted by the Legislature, will mean that full-time undergraduate students who are California residents will pay $1,740 next year. That's $156 more than they will pay this year and more than double what they paid five years ago.

Student, faculty and staff representatives from throughout the 22-campus system protested the increase and pleaded with the trustees for relief.

"We just finished paying 10%-higher fees," said Alex Parr, a Cal Poly Pomona student. "And now we're hearing the board will raise fees 10% more--it's frustrating."

Chris Lowe, president of Associated Students at Cal State Fullerton and the board's student trustee, said that he is disappointed with the fee increase but sees hope.

"I've been watching this process for four years, and this is the first time I've seen the trustees add a resolution to try to avoid raising fees," Lowe said.

*

Graduate students will pay $246 more next year under the plan. Trustees have previously tried to phase in higher fees for graduate students, but the Legislature has resisted. CSU officials said it costs more to educate graduate students than undergraduates.

In light of an improving California economy, CSU budget planners said they will seek more money from the state in 1995.

Trustees on Thursday asked for nearly $1.7 billion from the state's general fund, 9.4% more than what the system received this year. If the Legislature approves the request, it would bring state funding for the CSU system back to 1990-91 levels.

About 3,200 more students are expected to enter CSU schools next year--slightly more than Cal State Fullerton's 1994 freshman class. Currently, about 326,000 students attend Cal State universities.

The trustees' planned budget could be scrapped if analysts find by Nov. 15 that the state has much less money than they had hoped. But Richard West, CSU vice chancellor of business and finance, was cautiously optimistic, saying that the state currently has about $476 million more than expected.

When they were pressed to explain raising fees, trustees angrily pointed to numbers showing the growing state prison system. Money for prisons comes from the same discretionary portion of the state general fund as money for higher education, trustees said.

"Prisons are going to swallow us up eventually," Trustee Anthony M. Vitti said. Vitti and other trustees told students to demonstrate their frustration before the Legislature to change the ways politicians allocate money.

Todd Wilander, president of Associated Students at Cal State Los Angeles, said that higher education should get more money than prisons.

"We don't need a Cal University San Quentin," Wilander said.

In other matters, trustees approved a capital plan that would use lease revenue bonds to finance about $130 million in facility improvements, including upgrading buildings so that they are safe during earthquakes, at Cal State Fullerton and four other campuses. They also approved $26 million in non-state bonds to fix dormitories and other buildings on various campuses.

Fees Rising California State University annual student fees more than doubled between 1989-90 and this year. But they far still considerably lower than comparable costs in the University of California system and the average for public four-year institutions nationwide. *

Cal State Fees 1995-96: $1,740* * Projected 1995-96 fees, still to be approved by the state Legislature. *

How Cal State Compares Fees for the 1994-95 school year (percentage increase from the previous year): University of California (+17%): $4,325 Nationwide, public four-year school (+6%): $2,590 California State University (+10%): $1,584 Note: Fees are for undergraduate California residents taking more than six class units each semester. Figure does not include campus fees, books or room and board. *

Sources: California State University; University of California; "Fall 1994 Annual Survey of Student Charges at Public, Four-Year Institutions, "Office of Association Research at the American Assn. of State Colleges and Universities; Researched by ALICIA DI RADO / Los Angeles Times

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