Proposition 30 passed by more than 700,000 votes early Wednesday in a decisive victory to provide K-12, community colleges and public universities in California funds to refresh the drought-stricken education budget.
The passage prevented a $250 million “trigger cut” that was decided by California lawmakers last year to offset the cost of keeping tuition fees for California State University students as low as possible. If the measure had failed, spring semester tuition would have increased $150 per student automatically.
In addition, the CSU would have been forced to deny thousands of qualified students entry into the largest public university system in the United States.
Proposition 30’s passage does nothing to address that the CSU still receives about $1 billion less in funding from the state than it did five years ago, said Erik Fallis, media relations manager for the CSU.
“It also does not specifically guarantee us anything in the future. What it does is prevent us from taking another drastic hit within this current year,” said Fallis.
Because Proposition 30 passed, the trigger cut has been avoided and students can expect a tuition “rollback” to $5,472 for full-time students, the same price for the 2011-2012 academic year.
The funding promised by Proposition 30 will come from increased personal income taxes for earners of over $250,000 for the next seven years and sales tax, which will also increase by a quarter-cent for the next four years.
The CSU also said the 9 percent tuition increase last fall would be conditionally refunded in two $249 disbursements. The first would be a direct refund for all students and the other will likely be a $249 credit toward spring semester tuition. Students’ financial aid may also be restructured to reflect the disbursements.
Fallis said individual processes would be set up for each of the 23 CSU campuses to restructure financial aid.
Students who are not graduating will receive a check if no outstanding balance is found on their account and current, non-graduating students who have no outstanding balance will receive a credit on their student accounts.
Fallis said that although the funds from the state won’t come in for another year, the money necessary for the rollback and conditional refund will be applied “almost immediately.”
Based on the asset-like nature of the money generated from future tax revenue, the state will have the power to disburse the funds to K-12 schools, community colleges, the CSU and University of California systems.
Though the CSU heavily supported Proposition 30 in the months leading up to Wednesday’s passage, Fallis said, “You can’t say that we’re actually gaining anything. In fact, we’re still losing in the current year if you look at what our total resources are that we have available, but we thought that that was important so we could roll back tuition for our students.”
Students are encouraged to check with their financial aid officer and keep an eye on their financial aid packages for any future changes.
Cal State Fullerton’s Student Financial Services office can be reached at 657-278-2495.