CSUF News Service
New Fee to Underwrite Programs, Services for Students
Committee Extends Campus Consultation Through March 9 to Secure Wider Student Input
Feb. 24, 2014
This semester, Cal State Fullerton students are considering a proposed new student fee tied to a wide range of student-requested services, programs and infrastructure targeted for implementation by the University's Strategic Plan 2013-18.
To maximize opportunities for campus consultation, the Student Fee Advisory Committee has added six additional general open forums and reopened the online survey through March 9. Additional presentations are also being scheduled with student groups around campus and other outreach measures are being implemented to reach as many students as possible.
The committee's initial schedule of 60 student-led forums and presentations and an online survey ran from Jan. 27 through February 13 on both the main campus and the Cal State Fullerton Irvine Campus.
Initially slated to close the online survey and conclude campus input with the Feb. 13 public forum, the Student Fee Advisory Committee extended the consultation period for two additional weeks to garner additional student input. Once campus input has concluded, committee members will meet to to consider whether they will make a recommendation to President Garcia.
How We Got Here
On Jan. 9, the 13-member Student Fee Advisory Committee voted unanimously to propose the Student Success Initiative for campus consideration.
If instituted, the fee would start at $78 per semester beginning in fall 2014 and phase in over three years, rising to $240.50 per semester by 2016-17. Revenue from the initiative would be restricted for use only on programs benefiting the student experience and student success.
Once approved, the initiative's impact could bring such benefits as:
- 24x7 library hours during finals, 20 technological upgraded classrooms, doubled Wi-Fi capacity in all common areas and expanded veterans services in 2014-15;
- expanded academic and career advising, more course sections of high-demand classes, supplemental instruction for 80 courses, doubled Wi-Fi capacity in all classrooms and instructional spaces in 2015-16;
- and 60 more technologically upgraded classrooms, Wi-Fi coverage of Quad and outdoor spaces, and expanded paid and academic internships in 2016-17.
The proposal calls for the fee to be adjusted annually for inflation, and monitored and governed by CSUF’s Student Fee Advisory Committee, on which students hold majority representation with seven of 13 members.
Why a New Student Fee Now?
For several decades, state investment in higher education has been trending downward; per capita support has declined while enrollments increased. The most recent round of CSU cuts prior to this academic year cost Cal State Fullerton $40 million in lost operating support from the state.
While the most recent state budget has brought some relief, Cal State Fullerton hasn’t recovered lost ground, nor is it clear whether the era of disinvestment in public higher education has ended or merely paused.
In addition, longstanding CSU funding formulas mean that Cal State Fullerton receives the lowest state support per student in the entire 23-campus system, further widening the shortfall between operating expenses and state support, now down to just 38 percent of CSUF’s annual operating budget.
The need for increased revenue had been identified during the year-long strategic planning process and was incorporated as the fourth goal of the resulting Strategic Plan 2013-18.
After devoting the first three goals to developing curriculum and student programs, improving student success, and retaining a high quality and diverse faculty and staff, the Strategic Plan explicitly states that "securing revenue sources will allow us to invest in the success of our University, our students, and our communities."
As a consequence, Goal 4 explicitly acknowledges the need for additional revenue to fulfill CSUF's aspiration "to become nationally recognized for exceptional programs that prepare our diverse student body for academic and professional success." The strategic plan commits the institution to doubling overall philanthropic giving, and sets equally ambitious revenue goals for increased revenue from grants, contracts and entrepreneurial activities.
Currently, CSUF has both the lowest costs per student in the system and the third-lowest student fees, factors that also affect its ability to deliver the student experience the strategic plan describes.These circumstances led the Student Fee Advisory Committee to propose the Student Success Initiative.
To date, eight other CSU campuses have implemented similar initiatives.
What Would the New Fee Fund?
If adopted, the Student Success Fee will fund reinvestment in programs and services to:
- Strengthen academic advising
- Improve course availability
- Expand library hours and improve the library technology environment
- Upgrade athletics facilities and provide additional scholarship support for students
- Increase support for learning communities, internships, the Career Center, supplemental instruction and service-learning
- Upgrade classrooms and provide instructional software
- Expand and modernize student spaces, such as the Titan Student Union and a one-stop student services center
- Strengthen cultural centers, veterans services and Disability Support Services
- Provide upgraded technology by expanding Wi-Fi coverage and provide a new 24/7 IT help desk for students
The Student Success Initiative Overview provides detailed examples of and estimated cost allocations for the services, programs and other curricular enhancements and infrastructure improvements the Student Success Initiative could make possible.
Category II Fees Require Campus Consultation
As defined by the Education Code, the Student Success Fee is a Category II fee, i.e., "campus mandatory fees that must be paid to enroll in or attend the university."
The Chancellor's Executive Order 1054 requires campuses seeking to add a Category II fee to incorporate "appropriate and meaningful consultation from all members of the campus community, with special consideration to input from students." The order allows for campuses to gauge student opinion using either an advisory student referendum or "an alternative consultation process" that is transparent, meaningful and representative of the student body.
The results of the alternative consultation process are to be "used as additional advisory material to be taken into consideration by the fee advisory committee and the president before requesting that the chancellor establish a new Category II fee."
In keeping with EO 1054 and to maximize opportunities for campus consultation, the Student Fee Advisory Committee scheduled 57 student-led forums and presentations as well as an online survey from Jan. 27 through February 13 for students on both the main campus and the Cal State Fullerton Irvine Campus.
Initially slated to conclude campus input with what was to be the last public forum on Feb. 13, the Student Fee Advisory Committee added two additional weeks of consultation that will conclude on March 9. Once campus input has concluded, committee members will meet to consider whether they will make any recommendation to President Garcia.
The Student Success Initiative website (success.fullerton.edu) includes specific sections detailing proposed fund allocation, FAQs, the extended schedule of student-led information forums, links to other information resources and an email address for campus feedback.