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Chico State students oppose tuition increase plan

Chico State student Nautica Blue studies on campus on Sept. 14, 2023.
Alec Stutson
Chico State student Nautica Blue studies on campus on Sept. 14, 2023.

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The California State University Board of Trustees voted this week (Sept. 13) to raise tuition rates over the next five school years. NSPR's Alec Stutson has more on the reactions from Chico State students.


Wednesday's vote came after an outpouring of protest against the tuition increase. The day before, dozens of students spoke for nearly three hours of public comment, asking the trustees not to implement the plan.

Nautica Blue will be graduating from Chico State in May, before the tuition increase takes effect. But she worries for future students, like her younger brother.

BLUE: "I'm really hoping that he's gonna get a basketball scholarship. So, that should help with tuition, but on the off chance that he doesn't get a scholarship anywhere, I'm assuming we won't be able to afford it."

The university will increase tuition by about 6% a year, starting in fall of 2024. For undergraduates, that would mean a nearly $2,000 increase by the end of the five-year plan.

Trustees noted that the university has only raised tuition once in the last 12 years. Tuition rates were more volatile in the past, sometimes they'd skyrocket by 20% or even 40% in a single year. Board members argued the increase is necessary to fill the substantial budget gap.

I heard from students on Chico State's campus who had no idea about the tuition plan until they got an email about it the day after it passed. Some, like Aubrey Raney, think the university did a poor job of communicating with students about the increase.

RANEY: "It wasn't being talked about. It wasn't being addressed. They planned this very well in order to hope that we wouldn't be able to rise up and stop it. And we tried our best."

She's an intern at CSU Students For Quality Education, an advocacy group supported by the California Faculty Association. She says many students want to continue their opposition to the tuition increase, and that a protest rally is planned for next month.

Alec Stutson grew up in Colorado and graduated from the University of Missouri with degrees in Radio Journalism, 20th/21st Century Literature, and a minor in Film Studies. He is a huge podcast junkie, as well as a movie nerd and musician.