Students at San Francisco State University and 22 other California State University campuses will pay $500 more next year, after CSU trustees approved a 9 percent tuition increase Wednesday.
Trustees who approved the tuition hike in a nine-to-six vote argued that their hands were forced by state budget cuts.
“We have an institution to run here,” said Trustee Roberta Achtenberg. “And we have an obligation to run it well. I think we have an obligation to students to apprise them of what we believe it's going to cost absent intervention by the legislature, because if anything's predictable it is predictable that the legislature will not adequately fund us.”
Students at San Francisco State, who will pay $6,774 in in-state tuition next year if they don’t receive financial aid, were dismayed by the news from the Long Beach campus where trustees were meeting.
“I’m sorry, but I think it’s ridiculous,” said Erica Gallardo, 22, a junior majoring in communications who waits tables on the weekend to pay for her tuition. “As it is, we are college students and we don’t have enough to pay the price that it is now.”
Kristina Lee, 25, a senior majoring in political science, worried that higher tuition would make the university inaccessible to some students.
“I’ve been here a number of years and it’s been an increase every year,” she said. “We understand the need for revenue for the university, of course, but these universities were created to be a great leveler.”
Other students noted that, despite recent tuition increases, classes continue to be eliminated due to budget cuts, forcing many students to spend more than four years on campus to complete all their requirements.
“It’s stay longer, pay more,” said Angie Baney, 23, a senior majoring in graphic design. “I’m done after this semester, and I’m glad to be gone.”
The trustees’ vote came after a brief outbreak of violence at the meeting. After a public comment period ended, angry students continued to shout at trustees, and the meeting went into recess as campus police attempted to force disruptive protesters from the room.
CSU spokeswoman Liz Chapin said that three students were arrested, one officer was injured and a door was broken in the scuffle. Trustees moved to a closed room to vote on the tuition increase.
Trustees also voted unanimously to approve a budget that would request an additional $471 million from the state, which has decreased CSU funding by $868 million in the past four years. Tuition increases have only made up for $593 million of that shortfall, according to the CSU budget office.
Students whose families make less than $70,000 a year do not as a rule pay any tuition, university officials said, and CSU students receive $2 billion in financial aid every year.