The cost of education is going up at Fresno State and 22 other California State University campuses.
The CSU Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposal to hike student tuition by 6% annually for five years starting in fall 2024.
The tuition increases are estimated to bring in $860 million over the five years. However, CSU leaders say that about $280 million of that funding will be earmarked as financial aid for impoverished students.
‘A Difficult Decision,’ Says Trustee
“We face a difficult decision today,” Trustee Jack McGory said at the meeting in Long Beach. “It’s tough to do this and we don’t like it, especially when we’re so proud of our affordability. But we’ve got to make these numbers work and do something long-term that continues the quality of education we have.”
According to the CSU, the new tuition schedule will sunset at the end of 2028-29. At that time, the board will decide on the future direction of the fees.
The CSU also stated that for full-time undergraduate students, the first increase in 2024-25 would be $342 for the academic year. At semester universities, the increase per term would be $171. By 2029, the increase would amount to about $2,000 annually.
Officials last increased tuition in 2017 when they approved a 5%, or $270, increase. Since then, inflation has grown by 39%.
The Cost of Attending Fresno State
Full-time Fresno State students now pay $3,486.50 per semester in tuition, and half-time students pay $2,280.50. Those totals, however, don’t include books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and money for personal items. For a student living on campus, Fresno State estimates the annual yearly cost at $23,743.00 — a figure that will rise with the CSU tuition hikes.
Students and faculty throughout the state protested the proposed hikes ahead of Wednesday’s meeting. However, the CSU counters that 60% of its 460,000 students have their tuition fully covered by grants and waivers. Another 18% receive partial tuition aid, 18% don’t apply for aid, and 4% turn to student loans.
CSU leaders said the hikes are needed to cover a $1.5 billion funding gap and ensure that campuses continue to offer high-quality instruction and services. About 60% of the CSU operating budget is provided by the state; the remainder is from tuition.
“We pay our bills every year, but we just never have sufficient revenues to pay for what we need to do every year,” Trustee Julia Lopez said. “And there’s opportunity cost — something that should have been done doesn’t get done. We as a board know we need to do something different.”
The CSU faces other budgeting challenges. Among them: nearly $6 billion in deferred maintenance for buildings and infrastructure, and $1 billion for employee raises.