California students speak out against tuition increase

Students across the state of California are protesting and advocating to be heard in the midst of a recent decision by the board of the California State University school system. The controversy in question is a 6% raise in tuition starting in the fall of 2024, a process that will repeat itself for the next 5 years.

The board of trustees for the nation’s largest public university system voted 15-5 to raise tuition in order to attempt to raise themselves out of a funds deficit. More specifically, the system needs to be taking in $1.5 billion more a year in order to return to financial stability. The gap has stemmed from rising inflation throughout the past few years and the need to cover costs of tutoring services and other similar areas.

In order to do that, the next 5 school years will see about a 6% increase in tuition until the 2028-2029 school year, when tuition will have increased by 34%. Currently, students pay $5,742 in annual tuition, but in fall of 2024, students will pay $6,084. By the end of the 6 year increase, students will be paying $7,682. By the end of this process, the system will have gained $860 million in revenue and will put about 32.5% of those funds towards the financial aid program.

An increase in funding for the schools will allow them to put more work towards resources for students and faculty, financial aid and other beneficial students programs, and updating facilities on campuses. However, not all students will be affected by the new shift. Students who already apply for or take part in financial aid and attend school for free or a discounted rate will still receive the same relief from the system, which is about 276,000 undergraduate students.

In response, students across California are making their opinions on the adaptation known. For example, at Long Beach State, students hosted a walkout protest, attracting dozens of students in front of the school. The students also attended a CSU Board of Trustees meeting, where they gave a public comment detailing their opposition to the board’s decision. Attendees of this protest shouted, “Down, down tuition hikes. Up, up student rights,” in response to the inequality of the change.

Many students feel that the new tuition is an infringement of their rights as students and poses a threat to countless students’ spots at their universities. They feel that the lack of funding on the school’s part should not fall on the students to account for. The issue is even further inflamed by the fact that presidents of a range of schools within the system have recently been awarded salary increases. The president of Long Beach State, Jane Close Conoley, received a 7% increase just last year.

All in all, students hope that their voices will be heard amidst this newly unfavorable modification and that the CSU school system will be able to account for their budget necessities through an alternate method.