Tuition hike continues

Kelley Marble

Over the past six years, the UC and CSU systems have raised student tuition nearly three times, according to a history of the fee charged by the California State University system.

College is fast becoming unaffordable for most university students, forcing them to reevaluate their long term plans.

Over the years, a lot of students have put off the thought of college and instead have jumped immediately into the work force due to the high tuition costs.

“I started working a full-time job straight out of high school because I knew I couldn’t afford a four-year school,” said Sima Saraf, 21, a journalism student at Saddleback Community College. “Now I am playing catch up here at Saddleback and I’m still unsure of going to a four-year.”

Other students are wrestling with the same decision: Can they afford to go to school in a state university system that-because it is public, not private-is supposed to be affordable to the average student.

The latest proposed increase would bring basic undergraduate fees for California residents to about $3,797 at CSU campuses and $8,007 at UC schools. That does not include housing and food for students who live on campus.

Many agree that it is essential for the economy and the state’s wellbeing to have an educated workforce, but with the constant hikes in fees and tuition, it is difficult for potential college students to even consider a four-year state school.

The latest proposed increase in tuition at UC and CSU universities comes as the state of California is reeling from budget problems and the tuition hikes are just one of many things the state is considering to help balance the budget.

Some students say it feels as if every time there is a problem in the state budget, the first thing the state does is increase student fees.

Parents and college students who want to put a halt to the constant increases in tuition have started a ballot of their own, collecting signatures in hopes to get a proposition on the 2008 ballot in November.

Tuition Relief Now is the name of the organization that plans to freeze tuition at UC and CSU schools. Tuition Relief Now is a group of parents and students who believe every student in California should be able to afford college tuition. Greenlining Action, a multi-ethnic, nonprofit public policy organization, supports this group.

The proposed law would be called the College Affordability Act of 2008 and would allow tuition to be locked in place for five years for resident undergraduates.

The law would only be in effect for the first five years of a student’s education.

The proposed law also would require that any schooling that takes place after the initial five years would not exceed the inflation index.

According to the campaign’s director, Chris Vaeth, this proposed ballot measure might also entice young students to register to vote in order to be able to have a final say on whether tuitions should continue to go up at the schools that are suppose to be affordable to the average student.

To get involved in this group, you can visit their website at www.tuitionreliefnow.org.

Another good way to get involved would be to sign their petition or even offer volunteer time.

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