Imprisoned by tuition

Rather than forcing universities to pickpocket its students by raising tuition, the state should use taxpayers’ dollars to fund universities with the money these institutions need.
State funding for the UC plummeted by 25 percent during the recession, which resulted in the UC receiving $460 million less state funding this year than it did in the 2007-08 year, despite increasing enrollment.
UC tuition, as of Nov. 20, is proposed to increase by up to five percent every year for the next five years for California residents with a household income of $150,000 or higher as well as out-of-state students.
Now, students are helplessly caught in the crossfire between the state and UC’s funding battle.
UC president Janet Napolitano says the hike is needed to pay for recent pay increases in employee salaries, including contract settlements and retirement benefits and increase the number of undergraduate students.
However, the need to increase the already highly compensated administration salary is not a problem that financially struggling college students and their parents should pay for. That is the state’s problem.
The UC tuition hike could increase tuition next year to $12,804, not including room, board and books. By the 2019-20 academic year the tuition could be as high as $15,564.
California students who qualify for financial aid or whose households earn less than $150,000 a year will not be affected by the increases.
Nevertheless, 30 percent of qualifying students are still forced to pay the unaffordable, full sticker price that already totals over $33,000 a year including tuition, room, board and books.
Students, no matter their family income, should not be suffering because of the continued financial mismanagement of the state and universities.
The California State University is taking a whole different approach to the lack of state funding.
Instead of transparently raising its tuition, a dozen CSU campuses have begun implementing what are laughably called “student success fees,” which range up to $800 in addition to tuition, room, board and book fees.
This move was not approved by a binding student vote or a system-wide board of trustees, which is usually protocol for such an action. In Cal State Los Angeles’ case, the student vote rejecting the hike was entirely ignored and implemented anyway by the institution’s then-president William A. Covino.
This only proves that our voice as students is entirely disregarded when the administrators want more money. Yes, a portion of these fees helped to pay for the installation of campus Wi-Fi and award athletic scholarships.
But the money has also been used to hire instructors and counselors, which was not made transparent enough to the students paying those fees.
We live in a society in which a bachelor’s degree and higher are necessary to be successful. But with these dramatic tuition increases it becomes discouraging for students to consider going to a four-year university.
As students directly affected by this decision, we need to take a stand.
Urge Gov. Brown to raise state funding for universities so the tuition costs will not be raised.