My take on the tuition increase

We’ve all heard the statistics, facts and reasonings behind the California State University’s (CSU) decision to increase tuition. When I first learned about the 6% increase, I thought that meant 6% overall. When I realized it was 6% each year for five years, my heart dropped for all current and future CSU students. We’re angry, and rightfully so.

Our tuition is going to increase to $7,682 by fall 2028; I keep wondering ‘what is this money going toward?’ The California Faculty Association is currently in negotiations with the CSU, and is asking for a 12% salary increase; the CSU says that the tuition increase is the only way to meet this demand.

The Board of Trustees tried to make students feel better about being milked dry by saying that this wouldn’t affect those on financial aid. What about the students who pay fully or partially out of pocket? There are students who sleep in their cars and on friends’ couches because they can’t afford housing on top of the already expensive tuition. These are the students that the CSU is choosing to ignore.

Following the first year of the increase, CSU is expected to make $148 million, with $49 million dedicated to financial aid. By fall 2028, it’s expected that $860 million will have been added to the CSU’s operating budget, with $280 million going toward financial aid and assistance. Where is the other $580 million going to go?

I would hope that money would go toward improving the lives of the students who paid for it. Will we get more affordable housing? Can we expect free parking? Will our professors be paid fair wages? Maybe. Or maybe it will go toward paying the ridiculous salaries of our Chancellor and CSU presidents.

Chancellor García’s salary is $795,000. That’s more than Governor Newsom and President Biden’s yearly salaries combined. This salary estimate does not include the monthly $1,000 auto allowance and $8,000 monthly housing stipend that García receives. For context, my single in Promontory is $8,424.70 per semester. President Quiñones makes $370,000 a year with housing provided. 

I realize that CSU executives are paid this enormous amount due to competitive salaries at other public and private universities across the country. The CSU can’t afford to lose them, therefore, they continue to increase their pay while ignoring the real-world consequences this has on students.

Why are students constantly being asked to compromise and sacrifice? All we want is a decent education, yet we are being asked to pay thousands of dollars more, for no return. During the Sept. 13 vote, some trustees were seen on their phones while students begged and pleaded that we cannot afford this. They give the message that they do not care about us. 

I stand with students who are disappointed, but not surprised, that our school system would do this to us. We’re tired of being taken advantage of by our education system and those who have shown that they care more about their own pockets than their students.

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