Cal State tuition to increase starting next year despite protests
Why it matters: The cost of earning a college degree is getting more expensive, which limits who can attend universities — even public institutions like Cal State — that pride themselves on social mobility and economic diversity.
- CSU is also on a mission to significantly increase graduation rates, particularly among low-income and underrepresented students, and eliminate equity gaps in degree completion by 2025.
By the numbers: Under the 6% annual tuition hike, students at San Francisco State University, Cal State East Bay, Cal Maritime, San José State and Sonoma State, among others, will pay $6,084 for the 2024-25 school year, up from $5,742 this fall.
- That would reach $7,682 by the 2028-29 academic year, a 34% increase.
- For graduate students, tuition would climb from $7,176 to $7,608 in the first year and to $9,604 by year five.
- $34,072 is the current total estimated cost of attendance for students living on campus, including things like books and housing.
Context: Cal State has only increased its tuition once in the past 12 years.
- About 60% of Cal State undergrads have their tuition fully covered by grants, scholarships or waivers, according to recent university reports.
- The system touts that more than half of its students earning bachelor's degrees will graduate without any education loan debt.
Yes, but: The board of directors of Associated Students SFSU strongly opposed the tuition hike. In a petition submitted to CSU trustees, they wrote that it "lacks sufficient restructuring for financial aid, meaning that 40% of students would shoulder an increased financial burden without sufficient resources to help them afford their education."
- About 300 students also rallied against the hike in an on-campus demonstration last week, SFSU's student newspaper reports.
The big picture: Tuition and fees across the 17 schools in the San Francisco metro area have increased since 2018, and the overall median cost for tuition and fees is $30,950 — almost double the nationwide median annual cost of $16,429, per federal data for the 2021-22 school year.
- The same is true for local private universities, though tuition for local public universities only is slightly lower than the overall U.S. median.
State of play: CSU faces a $1.5 billion budget shortfall, which prompted the board to consider the tuition increase for full-time undergrads.
- The problem is CSU can't afford the costs of academic and support services necessary for students, many of whom are low-income and first-generation college attendees, Cal Matters writes.
- The proposal sparked protests by students, faculty and staff across the system this summer.
Of note: CSU trustees will reevaluate the tuition increase in five years for the 2029-30 academic year.
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