Media Coverage of Trustees’ plans for new “Pay Up or Drop Out!” Fees
Coverage and select quotes concerning the three new student fees the Trustees are considering implementing at their Nov 13-14 meeting:
“It makes me angry,” said Marcela Pimentel, a communications major at San Francisco State University who said she would be affected by the third-tier fee because she likes to take extra units “to get things done faster.” She works two jobs because she doesn’t qualify for financial aid – which wouldn’t cover the new fees – and has student loans. So Pimentel needs to move through quickly.
Justin Blea, a philosophy major at Cal State East Bay, is concerned that he’ll have to pay a graduation incentive fee because he accumulated numerous credits at community colleges before arriving at CSU.
“I don’t see how punishing students for an underfunded system is going to help those students graduate,” he said.
But CSU officials say they have turned away “tens of thousands of eligible applicants in recent years” and they need to do something about it.
“By being more efficient, we’ll open up space for more students,” said university spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp. “It’s not necessarily a money grab.”
Insider Higher Education:
While the California State University System is refunding some students, avoidance of the trigger cuts is not stopping the system’s board from considering a raft of fees next week that, while designed to change student behavior more than generate new revenues, could result in higher bills for many students.
The board will weigh fees on students who take more than the required number of credits to graduate, who take more than a full course load in any given semester, and who repeat a course they have already taken. Those proposals have already angered some students.
San Jose Mercury:
In response, students have organized protests on campuses including Cal State East Bay, San Francisco State and San Jose State. They argue that the university shouldn’t “blame students for a broken system,” but address issues of access and timely graduation by opening more sections and improving academic advising.
Associated Press/Press Democrat:
“This is not a money-making plan,” said Robert Turnage, assistant vice chancellor.
David Allison, president of the California State Student Association, has said the fee hikes may unfairly punish students who switch majors or receive poor academic counseling.
Some students dismissed such arguments, saying the university should help them graduate by offering better advisement and more opportunities to take the courses they need, not by punishing them when they don’t conform to a timeline.
Charging “super seniors” more is wrongheaded, said Krystal Bates, a fifth-year senior with a double-major in dance and business. Oftentimes, she said, students can’t graduate on time because the courses they need aren’t offered. Overwhelmed academic advisers are often of little help, she said, which leaves students to figure out their plans.
“I don’t understand why they want to free up space for more students when they can’t afford the students they have,” Bates said.
Still, the CSU administration says it is confident the “super senior” fee in particular — $372 for each semester unit above 160 (120 is the average number of credits needed for graduation) — would have an immediate effect.
“If there is a fee levied on you, that’s definitely going to change your behavior,” said Michael Uhlenkamp, media relations director for the Office of the Chancellor.
Many students argue that new fees will unfairly punish those who switch majors or face other obstacles. The activist group Students for Quality Education is holding protests at several campuses this week and plans to demonstrate at next week’s board meeting.
“We don’t have enough classes, not enough sections are being offered and now they want to punish us with extra fees,” said Carol Linton, 23, a sociology major at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Linton said the six classes she needs to graduate by next spring would put her close to or over 18 units. She also wants to retake a class in her major to improve her grade-point average and her chances at being admitted to a good graduate school.
“They argue that students are trying to game the system, but I would have to drop out,” Linton said. “I wouldn’t have the money to go to school.”
SFSU Golden Gate Xpress:
“With these fee raises it’s going to to be harder for me to get classes,” Cardenas said. “It’s already expensive to live on campus and with these fees, I wouldn’t be able to live on campus anymore.”
A volunteer of SQE, kinesiology major, Grant Tuttle, and a U.S. Veteran, and these fees will force him to take too many classes.
“I only have four years of federal funding,” Tuttle said. “These fees force me to take over 16 units.”
Executive Vice Chancellor Ephraim Smith said most students will not pay the fees. The point of them is to change student behavior, he said.
CSU Fresno Collegian:
“Robert Turnage, vice chancellor for budget, and other trustees responded that there is no way to craft this perfectly,” Kiernan said. “No matter how it is written, you could always find one situation that the fee would apply to when it really should not.”