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Fee Hikes May Have Dramatic Impact on UC and CSU Campuses

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For those who say you can't put a price on education, California's governor and UC and CSU officials say you're dead wrong. In fact, not only can you put a price on it, you can hike the price, making undergraduate education in the state increasingly more expensive.

The LA Times is reporting that if Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed new budget goes into effect,

most student fees [will] rise by 10% at the 23-campus Cal State system and by 7.4% at the 10-campus UC system. That would bring basic undergraduate fees for California residents to about $3,797 at Cal State campuses and $8,007 at UC schools, not including housing and food. Graduate students would pay more.
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As a result, the campuses in the two massive systems would experience "reduced class offerings and possible layoffs of part-time instructors." The increases could also continue to rise; while tutition at UC and CSU schools remain lower than the national average, "critics note that costs have risen more than 90% for Cal State and UC undergraduates since 2002."Ninety percent? Yes, you read that right. The fee hikes have long confounded and frustrated current and prospective students alike, and seem to have little to no bearing on campus life, with continued increases in other student services like the cost of parking and growing enrollment in classes and impacted majors. The first consequence of the proposed increases will be felt by CSU applicants, as the system will be closing application windows as early as February 1st--a deadline which once upon a time used to extend well into the summer for some campuses. With higher education becoming a steadily growing necessity for secure employment in the workforce--and the need to continue to obtain advanced degrees receiving more emphasis now than ever before--the ability of local students, particularly minorities and those in lower-income brackets, to even get into a CSU or UC and then pay for it is becoming jeopardized.

This LAist, who, in the interest of full disclosure, teaches at CSU Los Angeles, believes that increased tuition and the resulting cuts are the last thing our public universities need. The Times spoke with CSULA professor Lillian Taiz, who also serves as the President of the California Faculty Association, who echoes the students' and many others' disheartened sentiments about the news: "The loss, in the end, would not only be dollars but the loss of the hope and optimism about the future."

Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/LAist