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CSU student fees increase

By Elizabeth Daley, Bay City News Service

March 14, 2007

As California State University faculty members vote on whether or not to strike if a contract agreement with the university system is not reached, CSU announced today an increase in student fees, according a CSU spokesman.

At a meeting today at the offices of the CSU chancellor in Long Beach, students and faculty members spoke out against the fee hike during a public comment session, according to California Faculty Association President John Travis.

"We soundly reject the notion that student fees must be raised to pay employees fairly," said Travis, "It is wrong for the CSU administration to try to put equitable pay for the faculty and staff in this publicly funded university directly on the backs of our students."

However, Travis conceded that the CFA is a large organization and there may be some faculty members who would support the fee increase in order to pay salaries.

According to CSU, the board of trustees voted to increase student fees for the 2007 to 2008 academic year by 10 percent to "support full funding of the CSU budget."

The $253 increase would raise student fees to $3,451, according to CSU. CSU spokesman Paul Browning said even with this increase, CSU will still have the lowest student fees among comparable universities.

Browning said the fee increase was expected to generate $123 million in funding for the system, one third of which would be applied toward financial aide.

Travis said in a statement that the fee hike was initiated "To deliberately try to create tension between students and those who are responsible for their learning for cheap political advantage is further evidence of how far removed the administration and trustees are from what is important on our 23 campuses: the education of our 420,000 students."

Browning said "students with the greatest economic need will not be impacted by the fee increase," adding, "more than 25 percent will get increased financial aide to offset fees."

"Student fees are part of the overall revenue mix that is needed to sustain our outstanding university system," said CSU board of trustees chair Roberta Achtenberg.

"The CSU receives its revenues basically from state general funds and fee revenues. Currently, employee compensation for all employees accounts for 74 percent of the expenditure budget. The trustees are committed to bringing all salaries up to market rate in order to remain competitive. We cannot move forward on this effort without either a larger portion of the state General Fund or an increase in student fees."

Meanwhile, the fact-finding process continues in negotiations between the CFA and CSU.

"The fact-finding report should be coming out in the next few weeks we will look at it and reach an agreement," said Browning.

Faculty members at 16 of the 23 CSU campuses have participated in a strike vote, with six remaining campuses including San Jose State and San Francisco to vote this week, according to Travis.

Travis said on March 19 to 20th CFA ballots will be counted by the League of Women Voters, to determine whether to authorize the use of strike.

Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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