Andres Felix Romero and Brad Butterfield
On September 13th, the CSU board of trustees approved a tuition increase of 6%, every year, for the next five years. In effect, this will raise tuition costs by $1,940 in the 2028-2029 school semester as compared to tuition in the 2023-2024 semester. CSU cites inflation, the rising cost of living, and a lack of rising tuition rates as reasons for the compounded 6% increase over the next five years. For their part, students cite inflation, the rising cost of living, and six figure salaries for upper level administrators as reasons for their frustration with the tuition increase.
In defending the hike in tuition, CSU states that inflation has grown by 39% over the last twelve years while tuition has only increased by 5%. CSU expects a whopping 860 million in revenue in the five years post tuition hike, with 280 million being put towards financial aid.
Among the top priorities for the millions being brought in from the tuition include: expanding the work of the CSU’s Graduation Initiative, providing non-loan financial aid to assist students, increase in salaries for faculty and staff, and infrastructure projects.
Crucially, the tuition increase will cease at the end of the 2028-2029 school year. Tuition will remain at those rates unless the board of trustees votes again to increase.
CSU states that their current budget revenues are not sufficient to sustain current operations. The six-figure salaries of many CSU employees stoke the flame of frustration for students struggling to afford their education at the current tuition cost.
Prior to the increase being approved, it was heavily opposed by students, staff and faculty across the CSU system. In Long Beach alone, the CSU unions CSUEU, Teamsters 2010, and the CFA protested the tuition increase alongside the student-led rights group, the Students for Quality Education (SQE) outside of the Chancellor’s office where the tuition would be eventually decided. SQE member, Jackie Barrett, laments how the higher-ups in the education system generate thousands of dollars in income, yet the CSU persists they need more funds to sustain itself and pay its workers.
“They say that they need the tuition increases so they can pay faculty and all this stuff,” said Barrett, “But the new chancellor with all of her benefits such as housing, car allowance, after all of that she makes almost a million dollars a year. And campus presidents make anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000. [CSU] say they don’t have the money, but they definitely have the money. It’s just not in the right places.”
Even here on Humboldt’s campus, President Jackson’s salary was raised 14% from last year making his salary $396,150 with a $50,000 housing stipend.
Marisol Ruiz, President of the CFA Humboldt Chapter and Professor, noted the possible ramifications the tuition increase could have on the upward mobility of CSU students in the future.
“We know what [the tuition increase] means,” said Ruiz. “The students are going to have [higher] loans and what is that going to do? That’s going to make [students] indebted, that’s going to take away freedom to be wherever [students] want to be, and to do whatever [students] want to do. [Loans] affects your freedom to move,and it affects your freedom to have better opportunities.”