California State University recently decided to rename their ‘state university fee’ as a ‘tuition’, after coming to the conclusion that this was a more accurate description of the charge.
In the past, the ‘fee’ was meant to support non-instructional services. Tuition was meant to be covered by the state, as outlined in the previous “Master Plan” for higher education. This 50 year old plan envisioned state support covering the costs of tuition for California students, who only had to pay fees. So does this mean that CSU, by simply changing the name of the payment, is passing the bill from the state into the hands of students? According to university authorities, the answer is no, because essentially for the last fifteen years students have been paying the same amount in fees that they will be now paying in tuition. As a result of crumbling state financial support, CSU has been relying on fee revenue to support instructional costs, even though that it not what it is meant for. Whatever they want to call it, higher education sure
is an expensive investment!