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CSU tuition hike creates more debt, longer time to graduate for neediest students

CSU tuition hike creates more debt, longer time to graduate for neediest students


Dominic Quan Treseler
October 2, 2023
The graduation stage at all California State University (CSU) campuses are vibrant tableaus of dreams achieved. Each cap and gown tell a unique tale of persistence, ambition, and hope. But beneath the prestige and pride lies a sobering reality. For many students, obtaining a diploma also means accumulating debt.
The CSU’s recent decision to increase tuition by 34% over five years, at an annual rate of 6%, might intensify these disparities, potentially impacting the trajectory of many students’ dreams and futures.
While the CSU cites fiscal imperatives for the increase, it’s crucial to consider its effects on students, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds. Higher education, once the beacon of hope and socio-economic mobility, is slowly being priced out of reach for many. Making this path more expensive threatens to sideline those who are meant to benefit from it the most.
The data doesn’t lie, so let’s dive into it. Our recent collaborative report with The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) on the CSU system illuminates disturbing trends. While the CSU’s efforts to boost graduation rates are commendable, the cost of these achievements disproportionately impacts students from racially marginalized communities. We found that from the academic year 2021-22 a disconcerting 63% of Black bachelor’s degree recipients are grappling with student debt. In contrast, only about a third of their white and Asian peers face similar financial burdens. Moreover, only 48% of Black students secure their degree within six years. As these stats indicate, the increase in tuition could threaten the very essence of CSU, known for its diversity and inclusivity.
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