State raises tuition costs

Julian Williamson

Every year Saddleback and Irvine Valley College students head off to the various Cal States and UCs, but tuition costs are rising far faster than inflation. At the same time, financial aid is struggling to keep up, causing the ability to transfer to slip away for some and leaving others with huge debts.

In 2006, Gov. Schwarzenegger’s educational budget cuts forced the UC system to raise their minimum state fee from $6,141 to $6,633 in the 2007 calendar year.

This increase brought the average cost of tuition to $7,294, not including housing, books, parking fees, etc.

“I’m hoping to go to UCLA when I’m done at Saddleback,” said Troy Clem, 20, journalism. “I think the only way I can pay for it is through a mix of financial aid, student loans, and parental contribution. I’ll have to pitch in anything else if that doesn’t cover it.”

In accordance with the new state budget proposed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, the 2007-08 school year saw yet another increase to this figure, putting the average per-student fee at $7,347.

Students living on-campus at the University of California, Irvine will be spending approximately $10,540 for food and housing in the 07-08 academic year.

Personal expenses (books, spending cash, entertainment), added to an additional $2,500, bring the estimated grand total to $20,387.

“It really isn’t fair, with how much we have to pay,” said Nick Nowak, a UCI student. “My books alone cost me over $300 this semester.”

After a five-year hold on increasing the maximum aid, low-income students could receive $4,050 from the Pell Grant, which congress has approved to be the largest increase in 30 years, to a maximum of $4,600.

This leaves $15,787 left on the prospective UC students’ shoulders to bear or find another financial aid/loan system.

According to the Department of Education’s Center for Educational Statistics, 56.4 percent of all California undergraduate students are forced to pull out loans, at an average of $17,266 per loan.

Despite being less than the average UC, Cal State enrollment costs are also steadily rising.

Cal State tuition has gone up 1423.80 percent (as of 2006-07 school year).

Since 1980, CSU average annual cost of tuition has gone from $210 to $3,200.

CSU Public Affairs stresses that the average student living on campus will spend up to $14,887 per year. However, tuition increases, on average, 7-10 percent each school year.

A student whom starts their education at a Cal State in fall 08 will pay $14,887 and may end up spending $15,514 after two years.

Community colleges in California were free to anyone who wished to attend before 1984. It was in this year the CC system started charging $5 per unit enrolled.

Fees have increased gradually in the following 20 years, resulting in the $20 unit fee instilled today.