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Cal State board to consider raising tuition and other fees

The California State University Board of Trustees, shown meeting in Long Beach in July, will consider raising tuition and other fees.Facing an uncertain budget outlook, the governing board of California State University on Tuesday is scheduled to consider a slate of fee changes, including a midyear tuition increase and an extra per-unit fee for students who repeat a class.

The fee hikes -- to be presented to the Board of Trustees at its meeting in Long Beach -- are part of a package of contingency measures that are dependent on the fate of a tax measure on the November ballot supported by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Failure of Proposition 30 would trigger a $250-million funding cut to Cal State; and officials are proposing to raise overall tuition by 5%, or $150 per semester, beginning in January. That would bring the annual undergraduate rate to $6,270, not including campus-based fees, books and other costs.

The tuition hike would raise an estimated $58 million in revenue for 2012-13, officials said. Officials are also proposing to increase per-semester-unit supplemental fees for nonresident students by 7% from $372 to $399.

Even if Proposition 30 passes, officials are recommending a number of fee changes they say will increase access to classes and generate about $35 million for the system’s 23 campuses, including:

*A per unit supplement of $372 for seniors who have already accumulated 150 semester units.

*A $100 per unit fee for students who want to repeat a class. Officials estimate that each term, about 40,000 seats are occupied by students who have already taken those classes.

*A $200 per unit fee for any credits beyond 16, intended to discourage students from enrolling in a number of classes and then dropping some later.

“It is clear we cannot simply cut our way out of another $250-million hit to our budget,” Chancellor Charles B. Reed said in a statement. “We need to take a balanced approach in terms of cost reductions and revenue enhancements. That is reflected in the contingency plans going before the board.”

The outlook is not quite so dire if Proposition 30 passes. In that case, the board would forgo the proposed 5% tuition hike and also rescind a 9% tuition hike that took effect this fall and was expected to raise $132 million in revenue. The system would have to refund tuition checks, grant tuition credit and recalculate financial aid packages for most of its 412,000 students. 

But the system would also receive $125 million in state funding as part of next year’s budget, as well $50 million this year in one-time revenue from an extended education reserve fund.

The board’s finance committee will consider the package of proposals Tuesday, with the full board taking action on Wednesday.

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-- Carla Rivera

Photo: The California State University Board of Trustees meets in Long Beach in July. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

 
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