CSU Students to See 12% Tuition Hike for Fall

State students wait for the verdict.
State students wait for the verdict.
Associated Press

Update: Fat tution hike, approved. Students, screwed. (Except for those in-staters whose families make under $70,000 per year. They're covered.) So much for the all-day efforts of young protesters outside the Board of Trustees meeting... Originally posted at 1:30 p.m.

In another huge blow to the Golden State's widest-reaching higher-education system -- 23 California State University campuses, home to about 330,000 full-time students -- the CSU Board of Trustees' finance committee almost unanimously passed a 12 percent tuition hike this afternoon. (And the one "no" vote came from the board's utterly powerless student trustee.) The full board still has to vote on it, but judging by the fact that they've never not said "yes" to a proposed tuition increase, and the fact that 9 of 25 members sit on the finance committee, we're just going to go ahead and call it now.

The final vote will take place around 3:15 p.m. today.

This is on top of a 10 percent increase in November 2010. Now, annual tuition for in-state undergrads will jump another $588 -- to $5,472.

As usual, CSU officials and Governor Jerry Brown are passing the blame for these tuition hikes off onto each other. The Governor, who sits on the Board of Trustees, is conveniently not present for the vote today, and he instead writes an open letter to CSU chairman Herb Carter, challenging him on the new San Diego State president's $400,000 salary:

"At a time when the state is closing its courts, laying off public school teachers and shutting senior centers, it is not right to be raising the salaries of leaders who -- of necessity -- must demand sacrifice from everyone else."

Elliot Hirshman, the new president of San Diego State University, would be paid $350,000 in state funds with his annual compensation sweetened with $50,000 from the university's nonprofit fundraising arm. That's a total that is about $100,000 more than was paid to his predecessor, Stephen Weber, who served as SDSU president since 1996.

But Carter fired back on KNX news radio this morning, blaming the governor for the crippling round of $500 to $600 million cuts (depending on wether voters approve Brown's tax increases) he just dealt the CSU system in his 2011-12 budget. Carter defended the new administrator's salary by saying Hirshman's prestige would bring in tons of money for the CSU's private sector.

Which won't help cash-strapped CSU students one bit.

Board members, also as usual, were broken records of these same anti-Sacramento sentiments at their meeting today.

"If I had to characterize [the tone of the meeting], it would be disappointment in the state of California," says CSU media-relations officer Erik Fallis. "This [budget reduction] drops us lower than we were in 1998-99, even though we have 72,000 more students."

Pretty pathetic, any way you look at it. Updates to come.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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