BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Tuition — it’s a mandatory payment for all college students, and at California State University campuses — like our own Cal State Bakersfield — many students rely on financial aid to help cover these costs, but that tuition could see an increase as soon as next year.

The CSU Board of Trustees has proposed a tuition increase — a motion they are set to vote on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The proposal includes a 6% increase for tuition annually for all levels of education.

According to data from CSU, the current tuition rate for an undergraduate student taking six units or more is over $5,700 per academic year. If the proposal is approved, that same rate would rise to over $7,600 by the 2028-2029 school year.

This tuition increase proposal comes after California Governor Gavin Newsom’s multi-year compact, which according to the CSU, ensures a 5% increase to the university’s general fund appropriation for five years. But the university says “more funding is still needed for the CSU to continue advancing its educational mission and to do so through the 21st century.”

However, CSU Bakersfield students are expressing dissatisfaction with the proposal.

“This tuition increase is really bad for a lot of students, including myself,” CSU Bakersfield student Eren Salyer told 17 News. “Six percent to the board of trustees may be small, but for a lot of students who receive financial aid in the form of Cal Grants and federal programs, it’s going to cause a big burden on our way of living.”

Salyer is a junior-year psychology student and tutor at CSU Bakersfield, and is among the strongest voices pushing against the university’s proposal. Salyer, who has tutored students younger than 18 years of age, voiced concerns not just for himself, but for his peers.

“I’ve met a lot of students that are financially dependent and in need,” Salyer said. “And this increase in our tuition — it’s coming out of our pockets. Federal aid probably won’t do much to help this.”

The CSU states on its website that the tuition increase would help students in the following ways:

  • Provide the necessary resources for each university to further the CSU’s core values of equitable excellence and access.
  • Provide tuition stability and predictability for students and parents.
  • Enhance financial aid and affordability for those students with the greatest financial need.

The CSU also stated they are “committed to its efforts to find administrative efficiencies and increase effectiveness across the system, which help mitigate increasing mandatory costs,” but noted that “additional revenue is necessary to pay for existing programs, services, priorities and unfunded state and federal mandates.”

Salyer, however, isn’t buying it.

“I believe that the board of trustees are using the money to line their own pockets,” Salyer said, “We’re not seeing much changes with regards to day-to-day campus life. The 6% increase isn’t going to improve my education by 6%. It’s just going to go to some cause that’s not going to directly benefit students.”

The CSU also states that 60% of students would not be affected by the proposed tuition increase because their tuition is fully covered by grants or waivers. But Salyer says he feels a lot of students will still struggle.

“I think it’ll just make it more difficult,” Salyer said, “We already pay for parking, we already pay for graduation, we already pay for transcripts, we pay for just about all of the luxuries that are on this campus.”

Salyer noted that executives and presidents in the CSU system make as much as six figures, according to a 2023 report. Instead, Salyer offers a different proposal of his own.

“If we’re already paying 6% out of our pockets, maybe they should be paying 6% out of theirs,” Salyer said. “I think that’d be fair.”

The CSU stated that if the proposal passes, it would go into effect for the next academic year, beginning in Fall 2024. For more information on the tuition increase proposal, visit the CSU website.