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Cal State Mulls 3 Fee Hikes to Promote Graduation

LOS ANGELES β€” California State University is considering three new fee hikes designed to push students to earn their degrees faster and free up an estimated 18,000 enrollment slots, officials said Thursday.

β€œWe have been turning away over 20,000 eligible students for each of the past four years,” Ephraim Smith, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, told reporters on a conference call. β€œIt is critical that we look for efficiencies.”

Under the plan the board of trustees is slated to vote on next week, the 23-campus system would levy fee increases on seniors who have earned enough units to graduate but remain in school, students who repeat courses, and students who take more than a full-time load of courses.

The additional fees would affect about 71,000 students in the 427,000-student system and generate an estimated $30 million in revenue a year, but administrators said the goal is really to free up classroom seats and enrollment slots.

β€œThis is not a money-making plan,” said Robert Turnage, assistant vice chancellor.

David Allison, president of the California State Student Association, has said the fee hikes may unfairly punish students who switch majors or receive poor academic counseling.

Seniors with more than enough credits to graduate would pay an extra $372 per semester unit, repeat courses would carry an additional charge of $91 per semester unit, and students who exceed fulltime loads would pay another $182 per semester unit. A typical course is three units.

Other state university systems have similar policies, administrators said.

The system has suffered about $800 million in state funding losses over the past four years. That has resulted in enrollment and program cutbacks and faculty layoffs that have made it difficult for many students to get the courses they need to graduate.

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