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CSU Trustees approve student fee increase

NOTE: The following message was sent by President Robert A. Corrigan to SFSU students on July 16, 2003.

Dear SFSU student:

I have promised to let you know immediately of any change in student fees, and so I am writing to inform you that today, July 16, the California State University Board of Trustees approved a 30% increase in both undergraduate and graduate fees, effective with the fall 2003 semester. In dollar terms, this means that full-time undergraduate students will pay $1240 per semester, up from $1002 last spring, and full-time graduate student fees will be $1345 per semester, up from $1083. Part-time fees will be $811 for undergraduates (up from $672) and $871 for graduate students (up from $720).

Given the state’s budget shortfall, we have anticipated a fee increase of some sort, and, as my May message to you noted, SFSU’s financial aid awards for 2003-04 were based on a 25% undergraduate / 20% graduate fee hike. Now that we know the actual increase, the Office of Student Financial Aid will automatically adjust State University Grants (SUGs) for students who are receiving those grants.

When the new state budget is approved, we believe that it will include an increase in Cal Grants as well. Most of you who are receiving financial aid have already been given the maximum award. A few of you, however, who are not receiving Cal Grants or SUGs may be eligible for more loans or work-study. To check on this, go to the Financial Aid Web site, or consult a Financial Aid counselor.

I have given you the facts. Now let me say a few words about the difficult decision the trustees faced. Looking at massive reductions in the California State University budget, they had these choices: 1) tell the campuses simply to face the budget cuts with no help a choice that would lead, on this campus and others, to enrollment freezes, faculty/staff layoffs and fewer classes for the remaining students, or 2) increase fees to help bridge the gap.

I believe the trustees made the best decision in a bad situation. I know that some of you will be hard hit by this fee increase and I deeply sympathize with you. You want, and deserve, an affordable and high-quality education. But given the state budget, a fee increase is the only way to preserve your chance for that education.

On this campus, we have looked for the least painful ways to make the multi-million dollar cuts that remain even with higher fees. We have worked hard to take as much as possible out of areas other than the classroom. We are proud that for this fall, you will have access to as many classes as before the cuts. We would not have been able to do this without the fee increase.

Even with the new fees, a California State University education remains one of the least expensive in the entire U.S. In fact, we rank at the very bottom of the list of public universities the CSU uses for comparison purposes -- and that is even more striking because we are comparing those institutions’ 2002/03 fees (the newest information we have) with our 2003/04 fees.

I know that statistics are small consolation to individual students trying to balance their budgets, but I do want to offer this perspective.

These are difficult times for our state and for the California State University. I want you to know, however, that at San Francisco State you are going to get all the help and encouragement we can offer to keep you in school and to offer you the course schedule you need to earn your degree.

Robert A. Corrigan


San Francisco State University

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Last modified July 27, 2004 by University Communications