CSUMB hikes tuition and turns away students in fallout from state budget mess.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Asharp increase in tuition will put a big dent in CSU Monterey Bay student Van Nguyen’s checking account. Nguyen says she’ll have to work extra hours to help pay for a 30 percent increase in student fees this year. “I have to take less classes because I have to work more,” Nguyen says. The CSUMB junior will pay nearly $1,000 more in tuition compared to last year.
Though financial aid will cover the tuition increases for the most needy students, undergraduate CSU fees will rise from $3,048 to $4,026 per year as part of a budget-balancing plan approved by the CSU Board of Trustees to offset a $584 million gap. In addition to driving up education costs, the CSU system plans to reduce enrollment by 40,000 students over the next two years.
“WE ARE ALL ABOUT AFFORDABILITY, AND SOME OF THAT IS GOING BY THE WAYSIDE.”
For the first time in its 14-year history, CSUMB turned away 300 qualified students this fall semester, which begins Aug. 24. The university also won’t accept any new students this spring. CSUMB’s enrollment will be capped at 4,200 students.
“We are all about access,” says CSUMB President Dianne Harrison. “We are all about affordability, and some of that is unfortunately going by the wayside. I think it is a major mistake on the part of the policy-makers to reduce the engine that could potentially help us get out of this economic mess. The engine is the future workforce that California needs.”
CSUMB has to reduce its budget by $7.1 million this academic year, about a 10 percent cut. As a result, average class sizes are expected to rise from 26 to 30 students.
Nguyen is unhappy that class sizes are increasing. “I went to this school because the classes are really small and teachers are easy to get in contact with,” she says.
Campus development has also slowed. CSUMB halted plans for a new academic building for the schools of business and information technology, though the new dining commons will be completed and the university’s new library is open for business.
CSUMB’s faculty and staff will be making sacrifices too. California Faculty Association members, which number about 300 at CSUMB, will take 18 furlough days, and the university’s 243 support and technical employees represented by the California State University Employees Union have agreed to 24 furlough days. Harrison doesn’t expect any layoffs, though vacant positions will remain unfilled and the university will cut back travel spending, equipment purchases and campus maintenance.
But the cutbacks should change little for the 900 new freshmen attending CSUMB this fall, Harrison says. “We are trying to maintain that priority of putting the students and their experiences, in and out of the classroom, first,” she says. “They may have fewer choices, but they will have the classes they need to graduate and to make progress through their academic career.”
With enrollment now restricted, prospective CSUMB students will have to apply early for next fall. “We’d like to get our students to come in as soon as possible,” says Marylou Shockley, chair of the school of business. “We want our tri-county students to come in here and get the first dibs on classes.”