LONG BEACH, Calif. – California State University students will see tuition increase starting next year.
On Wednesday, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a proposal to hike tuition by 6% annually for the next five years.
Undergraduate tuition at CSU schools will increase from $5,742 to $6,084 in the 2024-25 school year, to $6,450 the following year, $6,840 in 2026-27, $7,248 in 2027-28, and $7,682 in 2028-29.
The board’s finance committee had unanimously approved the tuition hike earlier in the day.
Administrators say the CSU system needs to address a $1.5 billion budget gap to cover existing programs and services. Like in all sectors, inflation has driven up costs. Tuition hasn’t been increased at CSU’s 23 campuses in over a decade.
A staff report released in May found the system with 460,000 students, many of them minorities and first-generation college students, has enough revenue to cover about 86% of what it actually costs to meet student, staff, and institution needs.
While unwelcomed, administrators say the hike is necessary.
“We are at a crossroads and if we don’t do it now… it’s going to get more and more difficult,” said Julia Lopez, a CSU trustee.
The proposal was met with fierce backlash and protests from students who argue the state’s most affordable option for higher education is becoming less affordable.
“I don’t come from money,” Marcia Moran told KTLA. “I come from a working-class family – a family of immigrants, and it took a lot of [money] to even get through my undergrad.”
Angelie Taylor, a junior at Cal State Channel Islands in Camarillo, California, said an increase in tuition will likely derail her because she is already working three part-time jobs to pay for tuition and cover housing and other expenses.
Taylor, who is a student organizer at Students for Quality Education, a progressive grassroots organization, said she doesn’t qualify for financial aid because of her GPA, which she said is low because of all the jobs she is working to make ends meet.
She said that taking a fourth job would leave her no time to study and she would have to drop out. She attended a meeting with the CSU Board of Trustees on Tuesday to explain her situation.
“It’s so disheartening to see that the board of trustees did not listen to the hundreds of us that came out yesterday,” Taylor said. “To have them completely ignore what we said and not do their job fully to secure the proper finances we need for this issue is such a big disrespect.”
According to a staff report, the tuition increase will immediately generate an additional $148 million in the 2024-25 academic year.
The tuition hikes won’t affect about 276,000 undergraduates who have their tuition fully covered by financial aid because of their family’s low income. Several trustees said they worry about the other 40% of the undergraduates, or about 184,000 students, who don’t qualify for financial aid and who will face increased tuition. But they agreed they saw no other alternatives to stabilize the system’s finances.
“We cannot survive unless we take action. No one wants to do this but it is our responsibility,” said Jean Picker Firstenberg, a CSU trustee.