The trustees of California State University did the right thing Tuesday by putting off any discussion of new fees designed to keep students from using more than their share of university resources. Now the university should scrap the plan altogether and start over. There are more equitable and more effective ways to accomplish their goal.
It's not the first time the board of trustees has been scheduled to vote on an ill-conceived plan before the students, faculty and the public have had a chance to weigh in. Administrators said the fees weren't about bringing in new income but rather were intended to change student behavior. The biggest of the new fees, $372 per unit, would be levied on students who already had earned more credits than they needed to graduate. More moderate fees would be charged to students who repeated a class, often to earn a better grade, and those who took an extra-heavy course load.
It's all for a valid reason: Cal State wants to keep students from overusing its resources so that other students have a fairer shot at getting an education. Students who stay on long after they should have received a degree — about 9,000 would be affected by that fee — take seats in taxpayer-subsidized classes that are needed by new students. The same is true for those who repeat a class. Meanwhile, some students overload their course schedules at no extra cost, figuring they can drop a class later. By that time, it's too late for other students to take their place.