Finally, a fully funded CSU

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to fully fund the CSU system, meaning there will be no tuition increase next year, should be met with emphatic applause by Sonoma State students. In previous years, the threat of a tuition increase has constantly loomed over students as California’s government has failed to provide all of the funding the CSU has requested.

Newsom’s budget plan shows his commitment to education. In addition to fully funding the CSU, his plan calls for an additional $262 million in one-time funds that would be mainly devoted to fixing up CSU campus buildings and building child care centers. It also provides $2 million to explore adding a new CSU in Stockton.

“This marks the single largest proposed investment by any governor in the history of the university and we are extremely appreciative of Governor Newsom’s bold investment in us,” CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said in a statement.

In previous years, former Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget would fall short, by tens of millions of dollars, on the money the CSU was asking for to fund itself. This would leave students, faculty, and leadership begging the state for more money, or else face a tuition increase.

The lack of investment by California in its higher education came to a head when the CSU raised tuition by five percent for the 2017-2018 school year. Another similar increase was proposed, that would’ve taken effect this year, that the CSU thankfully decided against. 

Tuition increases are unfair to students, especially considering the already enormous cost of going to a four year college. When students start college, it is common practice to plan out the finances of all four years of attending school. When tuition goes up in the middle of a person’s time at the university it can throw their entire plan for a loop. Financial aid or parent’s help may no longer be enough.

Sonoma State’s tuition is $7,798 per year. New students come here expecting to pay this for the entirety of their time here. While this number is subject to change, to raise tuition while someone is already committed to going here forces them to pay more even when they don’t want to.

Newsom’s budget shows that when something is a priority it is easy to pay for. California’s budget is massive -- $209 billion -- and nine percent of it will go to higher education. Higher education can be made a priority while still paying for other important things, like $60 billion for K-12 education. 

It is about time California invested in its students. Not only will this budget plan give financial relief to the young residents of this state, it will set the entire state up for future success as more people can pursue higher education without worrying about it becoming even more expensive.

Just 12 years ago, tuition was less than half of what is today. Steady increases to the price in the beginning of the decade created a new normal where one semester of tuition costs more than a car. It shouldn’t be this hard to get an education.

Hopefully in 2020 and beyond, the California state government maintains the level of funding the CSU needs. This will create economic stability and peace of mind for millions of California students.