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CSU trustees back off tiered-fee plan

Trustees with California State University have postponed a decision on a tiered fee structure that would require students to pay extra if they repeat courses, enroll in 18 units or more per semester or are "super seniors," those who take too long to graduate.

Officials with the 400,000-student system had said the added fees would encourage more students to complete their degrees, free up 18,000 enrollment spots a year and generate an extra $30 million annually.

Trustees had planned to vote on the proposal at their Long Beach meeting Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Trustees decided they wanted more information before they moved forward," said Mike Uhlenkamp, CSU spokesman. "They looked at what students were saying and they realized there is a lot of misunderstanding. So they decided to wait."

Students now pay $5,472 annually. The tiered tuition system was first unveiled at CSU's September trustees meeting. The proposal would have students pay an additional $372 per unit if they are "super seniors," those who have completed 150 units. Students would pay $100 per unit for every course they repeat, and students enrolled in 18 units per semester or more would pay an extra $182 for each additional unit.

If approved, the fee plan would have been implemented in fall 2013. Trustees said they may re-examine the issue at their January meeting, meaning the soonest they would be able to implement the new fees would be for spring 2014, Uhlenkamp said.

Students for Quality Education, an advocacy group of students from across the system's 23 campuses created after a string of tuition hikes, came out against the proposed fee increases. The group said the fee increases would prevent even more students from graduating on time, and discourage students who want to graduate early from taking on extra workloads.

Gov. Jerry Brown attend Tuesday's CSU trustee meeting to thank the system for helping pass Proposition 30, the statewide tax initiative that prevented a $250 million cut for the CSU's 23 campuses.

The initiative also awarded the system an additional $125 million as part of a deal Brown made to prevent another tuition increase. The extra funding allowed the system to rescind a 9 percent tuition increase for the current school year.

Contact the writer: 714-796-2258 or

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