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End run on tuition fees!

Created: 07 March, 2014
Updated: 26 July, 2022
3 min read


Education budgets have been slashed across the board from colleges to pre-school programs as the state of California, like all other states, struggles to find ways to balance their budgets. Education has taken the biggest hit over the past five years.

For the California State University system a small idea took form to solve their budget crisis and has been implemented at several schools. Today it is being considered by even more schools, including San Diego State University, in part as an end run around Governor Brown’s proposal to freeze college tuition fees. The idea is to charge what is being called ‘Student Success Fees.’

In a nutshell this is how it works: Each individual school holds local student meetings to determine 1) if they want the fee and 2) how much should the fee be per student. The fees have ranged from $160-$780 per semester. It is not a part of their tuition cost and does not have to go through the Regents office for approval. These monies will go into a general fund with the idea of hiring more tenured and tenure tracked teachers and to add classes which the students need to graduate on time.

CSU San Marcos implemented the fees last year at $100 per semester and the fee will gradually grow to $250 per semester by 2016. San Diego State University is considering ‘Student Success Fees’ and have recommended a $200 fee per semester.

We feel the pain of the educational institutions and of the school districts as they have struggled to educate students with less money, but charging an extra fee is the wrong way to go. For minority and low income students this is economic discrimination.

Since the elimination of Affirmative Action efforts to ensure that socially and economically deprived students receive the opportunity of an education, the path to higher education is now harder than before. With the rising cost of tuition, the cost of books, transportation, parking fees, room and board, and this new service fee, education is slowly moving out of reach of minority and low-income students and becoming the bastion of the privileged.

With the implementation of this special fee at the UC level it won’t be long before you start seeing this same program being implemented at the junior college level. Junior college fees are being increased yearly and each book cost in excess of $150.00. These fees keep adding up and are making it a hardship on the families to afford higher education. Many students are leaving school with a huge debt that can take decades to pay off.

The Student Success Fee was created during a time of economic crisis when more than a $1 billion dollars was cut from education and the schools were looking for a way to bridge that gap. That economic crisis is over and with the passage of Prop. 30 there is now more money in the state budget for education. Further, as the economy improves so should the money for education improve.

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State college education used to be free, now students pay as much as $9000 per semester in tuition and fees. To ask students to pay even more for their education is wrong. Higher education should be a priority for all and should be a priority of our elected leaders, who should be working to see that a quality education stays affordable for everyone in our state.

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