By Da’ Ron Frost
California State University trustees agreed Nov. 15 to discuss raising tuition for undergraduate students at all 23 campuses, including Dominguez Hills.
The action doesn’t guarantee the proposed increase in students fees to about $5,743, but the issue is on the table and could be finalized this spring.
Outside of the meeting at CSU headquarters in Long Beach, were a group of student demonstrators from Dominguez Hills and other campuses.
They called it a “die-in.” Some protesters dressed in zombie makeup and a mock graveyard was set up featuring tombstones representing the 23 campuses.
“Students, not customers!” protesters chanted. “The more we pay, the longer we stay!”
Cal State Long Beach Student Courtney Yamagiwa, a member of Students for Quality Education, was vocal in her opposition to the tuition hike.
“We’re going for something big, something visual,” Yamagiwa told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s important for students to come out and fight this.”
For the first time in six years, the CSU is considering raising tuition to close a budget shortfall. The proposed increase could amount to $271 per year above the $5,472 CSU undergraduates now pay.
The CSU system is trying to come up with roughly $344 million to help cover rising costs related to faculty hiring, salaries and a statewide push to increase graduation rates, according to The Times. It has been argued that tuition increase would force some students to drop out.
In a recent study commissioned by CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, about 1 in 10 of the CSU’s 460,000 students have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, and 1 in 5 is food insecure.
“We’re going to find solutions that we can take to scale,” White told The Times. “Getting this right is something we just simply must do.”
White wrote in a letter that he would like to avoid a tuition increase, as it is not the first choice, but is committed to the goals of Graduation Initiative 2025, which promotes students to graduate faster while continuing to give students the proper education needed.
“Having resources, one way or another, is going to be essential for us to make good steps on admitting students, and getting them to a degree sooner,” White told The Times.
Officials say the decision on if tuition will increase will not be made until January.