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Judge allows Cal State's summer fee hike

May 18, 2010 |  2:58 pm

California State University students will have to pay more to attend classes this summer after a Superior Court judge denied a petition to block a fee increase.

Students at Cal State campuses in the East Bay, Los Angeles, San Marcos and Stanislaus had sued the university, arguing that state law prohibits charging fees for the summer session that are higher than those during the rest of the academic year.

But Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch disagreed and allowed the university to move forward with the fee hike.

“We’re disappointed,” said Anne N. Arkush, an attorney with the San Francisco firm Altshuler Berzon, which sued on behalf of four Cal State students. “We respectfully disagree on the legal questions and are considering what to do in light of the ruling.”

Additional summer fees will make it harder to graduate on time, said Clint Hayden, one of the petitioners.
“It puts me in a lot of financial straits,” said Hayden, 25, a Cal State East Bay student who was planning to register for at least 12 units this summer. “I need to look at if I need to take some quarters off and work and I’ve even considered going to another school just to get the classes I need.”

Cal State earlier this year authorized a “supplemental instruction” fee of $80 per unit for campuses on the semester system and $60 per unit for those on the quarter system, with the fee expected to affect about 75,000 students who enroll in summer courses.

The university, grappling with state budget cuts of more than $625 million in the last two years, argued that moving to self-support summer sessions (where student fees pay the university’s actual costs) would free up additional funding for student enrollment and course offerings in the fall.

“We appreciate the court’s recognition that allowing CSU to offer self-support summer classes is the best way to serve students during these times of severe budget cuts,” Cal State general counsel Christine Helwick said.

-- Carla Rivera