ASI Lobby Corps Advocacy Day calls for CSU funding from state legislature

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Associated Students Inc. (ASI) and ASI Lobby Corps combined their last “Taco Tuesday” with “Advocacy Day” to raise awareness about the recently approved tuition increase and to advocate for complete funding of all CSUs.

If the CSUs are able to get complete funding from the state legislature, then the board of trustees will void the tuition increase.

The increase is $270 for undergraduate students, $312 for credential students and $438 for graduate students.

“What we’re asking is, ‘Please, state legislators put pressure on (Gov.) Jerry Brown and remember the promise that you made many years ago,’” said ASI Lobby Corps Chief Officer Amanda Martinez.

When the CSU began drafting the budget for the upcoming year, the initial budget it proposed was $324.9 million to fund all CSUs across the state.

However, Brown decided to give the CSUs $157.2 million, leaving the CSU system short $167.7 million. It is because of this shortage that tuition increased.

“I think it’s not fair,” said freshman Kimberly Palominos. “The education is an investment not an expense, that’s the way it should be.”

The tuition increase was “not a course of action that is taken lightly,” said Steve Relyea, CSU executive vice chancellor and chief financial officer, in a press release in March.

“Through the university’s robust financial aid program, we will ensure that students who require the most financial assistance will not face any additional burden associated with the tuition increase,” Relyea said.

If the state does not fund the trustees’ budget request, the tuition increase will help “add faculty, courses, advisors and other resources to improve students opportunities for success,” Relyea said.

Signs at the event detailed that if students are able to apply pressure on legislators to get complete funding, 3,600 more “qualified students” will be able to attend a CSU and 400 new faculty members will be added.

A huge chalkboard which read “Why Choose the CSU” was displayed in the Quad at Tuesday’s event.

Students were given the opportunity to create a poster with personal reasons they chose to attend a CSU for higher education.

Students wrote reasons including “cost efficiency” and “1/10 of graduates are CSU graduates” on the chalkboard for others on campus to see.

“It’s already hard as it is. A lot of people are already taking out loans,” said freshman Carlo Villicana. “Just to increase it more, is going to make it difficult for them.”

Although Cal State Fullerton and other CSUs made efforts to make their students aware of laws that are directly affecting them, there still needs to be a fight every year to ensure legislators make public higher education a priority, Martinez said.

“The only reason it hasn’t been is because students don’t vote, so we’re the easiest targets to forget about,” Martinez said.

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