California braces for another round of tuition increases

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By Dominique Franklin / Staff Writer

Expensive mistakes (Dylan Slusser / Illustrator )

By Dominique Franklin / Staff Writer

Surprise! More tuition increases are approaching, and they’re headed your way.

It’s definitely not the enlightening news other surprises tend to be. To some people, it’s not even a surprise.

One thing is for certain: California State and University of California campuses will undoubtedly enact another tuition increase.

Recently in a meeting held in Long Beach, the Cal State trustees voted in a 9-6 decision to increase the tuition of the universities by another 9 percent, or roughly $500, for the fall quarter. This increase pushes the cost of tuition for Cal States to just under $6000.

On the same day that the vote took place, a march had been planned by ReFund California, an activist group made up of students, teachers and faculty.

Naturally, the idea of crashing the vote became a much better idea than continuing to march. The coalition displayed a more direct, “take it to the man” approach instead.

The vote had to be taken behind doors, away from the public eye, due to chanting, whistle blowing, and general protesting near the area.

Fifty protestors stood outside holding signs and making a serious attempt to enter the building.

Some got close by breaking the glass door that served as a barrier, causing the on-site law patrol to use tear gas as a way to keep the trustees safe inside.

The vote comes during a time when University of California and Cal State leaders are being pressured by the protesting group to oppose the further education cuts and increase in student fees.

At the same time, trustees were being asked to approve a budget that includes a general fund increase of $333 million.

We can see which way their vote went.

The increase in tuition will be used to fund student access, course sections, and student services.

“I understand why people are frustrated,” said Assistant Chancellor Robert Turnage in response to the protestors. “A lot of this energy is misplaced. It needs to be directed at people who have decision-making power over taxes.”

The chancellor’s response to the protests does have merit, though. The one thing that could have stopped the tuition increases from even happening in the first place would have been for the state to increase funding for universities.

The board plans to ask the California legislature for $138 million in January, which will effectively get rid of the need to increase the tuition across the 23 campuses.

If the state legislature denies the trustees request, then the ninth tuition increase on Cal State campuses in nine years will continue as planned.

In the creation of a more equal tax structure, California should be able to find a better foundation to meet its growing fiscal needs.  

The nonpartisan fiscal analyst for California projected that the state will meet a debt of $13 billion in the next 18 months.

This will ultimately mean more budget cuts and another potential fee increase for Cal State and University of California campuses.

While the protest was a great start in voicing the concerns of many students and faculty, it being directed at the trustees was not a good call.

The disruptive actions that took place outside of the meeting did not help the cause.

Instead of the media taking notice to the fiscal challenges of California universities, headlines have instead blown up with pictures of the violence, with little attention to the issue at hand.

It’s noble for protestors to show support for a belief that is widely held in California.

However, when that support is shown towards the wrong people in a negative light, it is counteractive, especially when protesters turn violent.

There is absolutely no doubt that reform needs to happen in California.

Legislators need to realize that the price of college is much too high during such hard times as this.

Fully understanding the issue is a key component to creating a good protest, but this seemed to be missing from the gathering outside the trustee meeting.

In the past, protests have been devoted toward raising awareness of the limitation of classes, but now, even that is being redirected.

Someone should be at least a little appreciative for the small steps that are being taken.

While we do live in a tough time, every Californian should still be willing to contribute their fair amount.

That being said, the top 1 percent should pay their fair share, but not just for the educational future of California.

Their contribution will help with the state’s budget issues on a whole, from job creation to decreasing the level of poverty within the state.

Given California’s future economic situation, it is likely that tuition increases will continue and the budget cuts will not subside.

This is something every student needs to understand in order to prepare themselves against it.

Although an increase of taxes across the board could potentially save a tense situation, the likelihood of that happening is slim.

Even the mere suggestion of raising taxes, especially in today’s financial situation, is practically political suicide.

If nothing else, students should keep an open mind towards going to a school outside the state of California.

While leaving the nest is never easy, some schools outside California actually offer a lower tuition cost than in-state California universities.

That figure, however, is disregarding  future budget cuts, if these cuts are to even happen.

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