New law will open higher education fee increase process to students

S.F. Examiner File PhotoOut in the open: AB 970 will require the state’s university systems to open their budget process to students and the Legislature.

S.F. Examiner File PhotoOut in the open: AB 970 will require the state’s university systems to open their budget process to students and the Legislature.

Students in both the California State University and University of California systems have had to absorb massive budget cuts in recent years through rising fees. But thanks to legislation taking effect in the new year, governing boards for higher education will have to bring students to the table before any fee increases are implemented.

California Assembly Bill 970 requires trustees and regents to create a list of factors to consider before increasing fees, and it also requires those governing boards to provide annual expenditures to the state Legislature.

Specifically, the bill addresses concerns over the rapid rise in fees with little advance notice to the public or consultation with the students who ultimately pay them, said Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, who authored the bill with Assemblyman Marty Block, D-San Diego.

“This measure will ensure that student fee increases are discussed in an open and public manner, provide students with advance consultation and notification in order to prepare for these fee increases if they are needed, and provide transparency so the public is aware of how these new student fee revenues will be used,” Fong said in a statement.

According to his office, student fees at all 23 CSU campuses have increased by 76 percent in the past three years, and fees have risen by 68 percent at the 10 UC campuses.

For Adenike Hamilton, president of the Associated Students group at San Francisco State University, this bill will give students advance notice to plan out their finances, along with a voice they did not necessarily have before.

Hamilton, a senior, said fees and tuition have increased every year since she started attending SFSU.

“At this point, I’m in a ton of debt,” she said. “I’m looking forward to graduation and a degree, but I also know that degree comes with thousands and thousands of dollars in debt that I will eventually have to pay back.”

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said AB 970 is not the answer to the higher education funding crisis, but it’s a start.

“It does ensure that students are part of the process when it comes to raising their fees,” Newsom’s office said in a statement. “This is an important step towards including the most important stakeholders in the higher education conversation — and that is good.”

Newsom has been a vocal proponent for higher education reforms since taking office in 2011.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewseducationGavin NewsomLocalSan Francisco

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announced changes to statewide COVID-19 restrictions Monday. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/TNS)
Gov. Newsom expected to cancel California’s regional coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Change in rules could allow outdoor dining to resume in San Francisco

A statue of Florence Nightingale outside the Laguna Honda Hospital is one of only two statues of women in The City. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
S.F. still falling short of goal to represent women in public art

City has few streets or public facilities not named after men

Methamphetamines (Sophia Valdes/SF Weekly)
New search launched for meth sobering center site

Pandemic put project on pause but gave health officials time to plan a better facility

Hasti Jafari Jozani quarantines at her brother's San Francisco home after obtaining several clearances to study at San Francisco State University. (Photo courtesy Siavash Jafari Jozani)
Sanctions, visas, and the pandemic: One Iranian student’s bumpy path to SF State

Changing immigration rules and travel restrictions leave some overseas students in limbo

Woody LaBounty, left, and David Gallagher started the Western Neighborhoods Project which has a Balboa Street office housing historical items and comprehensive website dedicated to the history of The City’s West side. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Outside Lands podcast delves into West side’s quirky past

History buffs Woody LaBounty and David Gallagher have been sharing fun stories about the Richmond and Sunset since 1998

Most Read