CSU OKs plan to raise tuition if tax measure fails

Cal State University trustees approve plan to raise tuition 5 percent if tax measure fails

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A California State University panel approved a plan Tuesday to raise tuition by 5 percent early next year if voters reject Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative and trigger a $250 million funding cut to the 23-campus system.

The CSU board of trustees' finance committee voted for the chancellor's contingency strategy to manage the potential failure of Proposition 30. The full board was expected to approve the measure Wednesday when it meets in Long Beach.

The Nov. 6 ballot measure would temporarily boost the state sales and income taxes to help close California's budget deficit and avoid deeper cuts to K-12 schools and colleges.

Under the resolution approved Tuesday, CSU would raise tuition in the winter and in spring 2013 if the tax measure fails. Tuition for in-state undergraduates would increase to $3,135 a semester or $6,270 a year. The tuition increase would generate $116 million a year.

CSU would also increase supplemental tuition paid by out-of-state students by 7 percent, or $810 per year, to $11,970 a year starting in fall 2013. That move would generate an expected $9 million a year.

The failure of Proposition 30 would trigger deep midyear cuts to K-12 and higher education while forcing CSU campuses to cut course offerings, instructors and student services, administrators said.

If Proposition 30 passes, CSU would rescind a previously approved 9 percent tuition increase that went into effect this fall. Annual tuition would fall to $5,472.

If CSU freezes tuition this year, the system would receive an additional $125 million in state funding in 2013-14 — if Proposition 30 passes — under legislation Brown signed as part of the 2012-13 state budget.

"If Proposition 30 doesn't pass, we're going to cut $250 million out of our budget, and we're going to need some revenue to replace that," Chancellor Charles Reed told the board. "If Proposition 30 passes, there'll be some light at the end of the tunnel. We could roll back our tuition."

The committee voted to postpone until November a decision on imposing new fees on students who repeat courses, take more than 16 units in a semester, or have earned more than 150 units.

The proposed fees, which would go into effect in fall 2013, are aimed at increasing student access to courses and reducing the time it takes to graduate.

"I'm interested in more students getting more opportunities to get the classes that they need," Reed said.

The chancellor said colleges in at least 15 other states impose fees on so-called "super seniors" who have earned more units than they need to graduate.

CSU students complained that the "graduation incentive fee" would unfairly penalize students who have switched majors or couldn't get courses, leading them to take classes they don't need so they can keep their financial aid.

"It's penalizing a lot of student for something that's not necessary their fault," said David C. Allison, president of the California State Student Association. "The CSU administration, faculty and students have all been put in a very tough position due to the lack of state support for the CSU."

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