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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    CSU Board of Trustees votes to increase tuition by next year

    Some are worried the tuition hikes will make the school less diverse.

    Tuition is increasing, and not just for Sonoma State students. On Wednesday, September 13th in a 15-5 vote, the CSU Board of Trustees approved the tuition increase, raising the price of tuition across all 23 CSU Campuses starting in 2024.
    “The revenue from the tuition increase is essential to provide the CSU with the
financial stability it needs to continue to serve students today and in the future,” said
Steve Relyea, CSU executive vice chancellor and chief financial officer in a statement
sent to seawolves and faculty after the vote. “Coupled with an expanded financial aid
structure that will look more holistically at the total cost of attendance, the CSU is
committed to keeping costs as low as possible and providing support for students with
the greatest financial need.”
    Some are worried the tuition hikes will make the school less diverse, systematically targeting people of color.
    According to the CSU’s 2024-25 Proposed Operating Budget, 53 percent of undergraduates are from underrepresented minorities.
    “I do believe there is a chance that this will make the school less diverse,” said
Vanessa Sanchez, AS Senator of Diversity.
“Diversity is what fuels this campus. However, with this tuition increase, people
of color are especially targeted. If this is to occur, then we are integrating barriers within our educational system that already have pre-existing barriers for people of color. Our educational system is constantly a work in progress, especially one in America that was historically built to exclude the educational rights of people of color,” said
Sanchez.
The California Faculty Association, the union for Unit 3 Faculty across all CSU
campuses, also expressed worry with the tuition hike.
“The hike compounds and amounts to a 34 percent increase by the 2028-2029
school year. This misguided and ill-informed idea will price out current and potential
students – especially those who identify as Black, brown, immigrant, low-income, and/
or first-generation college students,’ the union said in a statement released Wednesday.
    “CSU management’s financial aid argument is a disingenuous distraction to dis-
miss the large amounts of students living on the fringes of stability, who are housing and food insecure,” the statement read.
    “Increasing tuition only ensures the CSU will become less diverse and more exclusive serving only those able to afford the price of attendance.”
    MEChA de Sonoma, a student organization focusing on issues within the Latinx
community and the oldest Raza organization on campus, also opposed the tuition hike.
    “MEChA de Sonoma stands in full disappointment with the CSU board of trustees’ approval of the 6% tuition increase,” the organization said in a statement released on their Instagram.

    Luis Gutierrez, President of Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity Inc.’s Gamma Chapter, a Latino-based fraternity, also expressed worry about the tuition hike.
“I think it’s going to affect people who are minorities, more specifically, because they didn’t have access to resources growing up,” said Gutierrez . “Now that this tuition increase is going to happen, people are going to start seeing financial troubles. I was working two jobs, and I still couldn’t afford what I paid for my housing.”

    I want to make it very clear that during my first year here at Sonoma State, I
worked four jobs to be able to afford to live here …

    — Roberto Eliseo Campos, MEChA de Sonoma President

    According to research collected by the California Budget of Policy Center, “Between 1979 and 2019, tuition and fees at the CSU rose by $6,800 in inflation-adjusted dollars, a 1360 percent increase. During the same period, food and housing-related
expenses increased by 40 percent.”
One day before the vote, MEChA de Sonoma President Roberto Eliseo Campos
spoke before the board of trustees during the public comment session, advocating to
oppose the increase in tuition.
“I want to make it very clear that during my first year here at Sonoma State, I
worked four jobs to be able to afford to live here and prosper as a leader, and a student
through it all,” Campos said.
“As a student who was homeless during the pandemic, I am asking you to think
of me and many other students when you vote on the tuition increase. Think of the
endless nights I had to live out of my 2018 Nissan Sentra. Think of the nights where
students who are attending the CSU system had to make decisions like this.”
AS President Cassandra Garcia also spoke in front of the CSU Board of Trustees
one day before the vote.
    “If you truly care for the students, oppose this proposal. You are all sitting here
for a reason, to advocate for the CSU system. But you seem to forget that the students
make the CSU system,” said Garcia.
    “Take into consideration all the students that work full time provide for their family work paycheck to paycheck to continue their education. Students are supposed to be offered affordable higher education, but instead we are slowly being stripped away of
our education because the CSU fails to see us as students and instead sees us as their
salary increase.”

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    About the Contributor
    Albert Levine, Staff Writer
    Albert Levine is a third year communication studies major at Sonoma State.
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