The Master Plan for higher education, passed in 1960, expressed clearly the intention that college tuition in California should be free for legal residents. Students were responsible for paying qfeesq that covered the costs of things excluding instructional minutes, such as lab equipment, health centers, and the student newspaper. However, as of January, 2011 the California State University (CSU) has officially begun to refer to the portion of college education paid by students as qtuition feesq. What happened since the implementation of the Master Plan that has caused what appears to be a shift to a more state-assisted structure for funding higher education? This thesis uses an inductive approach to explore fees and fee policies over time to try and understand how we got here. While I consider higher education in California more generally, my focus is on the CSU system. To determine more precisely what had changed with respect to fees and why, I reviewed budget documents, fee policy committee reports/recommendations, Trustee minutes, CSU documents, and conducted interviews with industry experts to determine what changes have taken place over time. My approach was informed by literature suggesting why fees had risen so sharply since enactment of the Master Plan. The findings suggest that the changes were incremental. There was no clear shift in public opinion of higher education. Although the fee policy committees over the years advocated for students paying a greater share of the cost of their education, the committees also recommended that the State continue to bear the primary responsibility for funding higher education. The percentage of General Fund dollars going to higher education has declined slowly since the 1960s. The higher education budget has also been hit particularly hard during economic recessions, at which point fees were increased fairly rapidly to offset some of the lost State funds. After these dramatic fee increases, a fee policy committee or commission would attempt to determine a qlong-termq fee policy so that the dramatic fee increases would not happen again. But financial necessity, especially to ensure the CSU philosophy of access and affordability, prevailed with each economic downturn. Additionally, the data suggest that decisions to allocate a portion of fee increases to scholarships may inadvertently have made it easier to raise fees. Ultimately, the findings indicate that, despite what some students may think, fee increases are a result of the reality that the desirable is not always feasible.My approach was informed by literature suggesting why fees had risen so sharply since enactment of the Master Plan. The findings suggest that the changes were incremental. There was no clear shift in public opinion of higher education.
|Title||:||What Happened to "tuition Free" College Education? Explaining why Fees Have Risen Sharply in the CSU System|
|Author||:||Christina Marie Kersey, California State University, Sacramento|