LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com/AP) — Students were out in force Wednesday against a 5 percent tuition hike that was approved by the California State University's governing board.
The nation's largest public university system says it needs to hire more faculty and add more classes to accommodate growing enrollment and insufficient state funding.
The annual hikes would increase undergraduate tuition at 23 Cal State campuses by $270 for the 2017-18 school year. The current tuition is $5,472.
The tuition increase was approved with an amendment stating that CSU would rescind the hike if funding comes through.
Students, who protested outside the CSU Chancellor's Office in Long Beach last November, gathered there again Wednesday, wearing signs that say, "Cause of Death DEBT $$$$$$$" and "Debt $50K."
"CSU is doing more with less," said spokeswoman Toni Molle, adding that the additional dollars would be used to hire 400 new faculty, add 3,000 of the most highly demanded course sections and expand academic and student support services.
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Buena Park, with bipartisan support from seven fellow legislators, sent a letter Tuesday urging the CSU trustees to vote against the tuition increase.
"It is my belief that funding our systems of higher education should not be done on the backs of students and their families," Quirk-Silva wrote. "For this reason, we strongly oppose this tuition increase which would continue to put a burden on low-income and middle-class families."
Wednesday's vote came before CSU receives its final budget from the state in July. The provisional budget indicates CSU will receive $157.2 million in additional revenue, but that would still leave a shortfall of $168 million, Molle said.
CSU said in a statement that nearly 63 percent of California State University undergraduate students, or about 255,000 undergraduates, have their tuition fully covered by financial aid and would not be affected by the increase.
Many students and several trustees have voiced concerns about a tuition increase, saying that tuition is only part of the expense of attending college, which costs thousands more after factoring in housing, books and living expenses.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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