LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — California State University on Tuesday approved another 12 percent increase in student tuition this fall to offset a deeper-than-expected cut in state funding.
With a 13-2 vote, the CSU Board of Trustees passed the annual tuition hike of $588, which comes on top of a previously approved 10 percent increase for 2011-2012.
CSU officials said the increase is needed to preserve educational quality and avoid large-scale enrollment cuts that would prevent tens of thousands of students from attending one of the system's 23 campuses.
"These are not easy choices," board Chairman Herbert Carter said. "We don't take great delight in doing this. We do it because we think it is in the best interest of the young people of this state that this university be available to them."
One third of the new revenue will be set aside for financial aid.
Annual tuition for in-state undergraduates will increase to $5,472, which doesn't include room, board or campus fees averaging $950.
Annual tuition will increase $678 for credential program students and $720 for graduate students.
Earlier in the day, the finance committee of the board voted for the increase.
The recently approved state budget reduces CSU funding by $650 million, or more than 20 percent. The system stands to lose another $100 million if the state generates less revenue than projected.
"The enormous reduction to our state funding has left us with no other choice if we are to maintain quality and access to the CSU," said Chancellor Charles Reed.
About 50 students marched and chanted outside the board meeting in Long Beach, carrying signs that read "Fund instruction, not corruption" and "No cuts, no fees."
"We are vehemently disappointed in what has happened today," said Gregory Washington, president of the California State Student Association. "The sad truth is that California isn't prioritizing its higher education."
Pati Guerra, 21, said she's tired of seeing CSU trustees deal with the budget crunch by pushing fees higher and higher.
The Cal Poly Pomona student said one of her younger brothers had to drop out of school because of the increases, and another brother is looking into studying out of state.
"They keep on taxing the students," she said. "The CSU claims to be an affordable, accessible and a quality education. But that's no longer the case."
Shortly after the tuition vote, the board approved a controversial $400,000 compensation package for Elliot Hirshman, the new president of San Diego State University. That's $100,000 more than that of his predecessor Stephen Weber.
In a letter to the board chairman, Gov. Jerry Brown criticized the move, questioning whether Hirshman should be paid twice as much as the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I fear your approach to compensation is setting a pattern for public service that we cannot afford," Brown wrote.
CSU officials defended the move, saying the university needs to provide competitive compensation to recruit and retain top administrators.
Carter acknowledged the governor's concerns and said the board would create a task force to review CSU's policies on selecting and paying administrators.
"This whole thing has been an insult," said Grace Castaneda, a 19-year-old student at California State University, Northridge, who has taken out $10,000 in loans to help pay for her education. "If they cared, they wouldn't have salaries of $400,000."
On Thursday, the University of California's Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on raising tuition by 9.6 percent above the previously approved 8 percent increase for the coming academic year.
If approved, annual tuition for in-state undergraduates would increase $1,068 to $12,192, which doesn't include room, board or campus fees. One third of the new fee revenue will be used for financial aid
UC officials say the additional tuition hike is needed to offset the 10-campus system's loss of $650 million in state funding.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.