CSU exploring two-tier tuition system
April 9, 2012
California State University officials are considering a two-tiered tuition system with privatized classes running about double the cost of state subsidized classes. [CaliforniaWatch]
In 2010, officials began exploring whether they could offer more remediation classes and high-demand “bottleneck” classes through Extended Education – a self-supporting program that provides online and face-to-face CSU classes to students without the university admissions process, California Watch said.
At Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, the university has seen a steady decrease in state revenue and has had to cut thousands of courses and reduce faculty and staff, students already have turned increasingly to Extended Education for the higher-priced classes, data shows.
From 2006 to 2010, the number of students who were enrolled in Extended Education classes at Cal Poly grew from 92 to 1,088.
In their 2010 presentation to the CSU Board of Trustees, Executive Vice Chancellor Ephraim Smith and State University Dean of Extended Education Sheila Thomas said that by offering English and math remediation, bottleneck courses, and other classes through Extended Education, the CSU could meet its academic mission while “freeing up resources on the state support side that could be re-deployed to critical areas.”
Because the program operates without state subsidies, Extended Education offers classes cost more than the standard CSU fare, and students can’t use Cal Grants or CSU State University Grants to help pay for them.
“For many students, it is the access to these programs – both at the CSU and at private or for-profit institutions – that can outweigh the higher cost,” the report said. “In these challenging fiscal times it is critical to review potential avenues of expansion for Extended Education to meet the needs of CSU students and working professionals.”
However, opponents of the two-tier system contend the recent vote by students at Cal Poly to increase fees by $260 per quarter in order to increase access to classes should provide the classes needed without a two-tier system.
Another opponent of the program, The California Faculty Association, has criticized CSU officials’ move toward expanding Extended Education, describing it as a “for-profitization” of the university.
“The price of doing that is to profoundly change the mission of these institutions, to have them begin to resemble more and more for-profit entities, where money talks and if you have the money, you’re in,” said Susan Meisenhelder, professor emeritus of English at CSU San Bernardino and former president of the faculty association to California Watch.