A petition for Cal State Fullerton to lower tuition costs for the primarily-online fall 2020 semester has reached over 7,000 signatures as of Tuesday night.
A Change.org user named Isabel Tovar started the petition on Thursday. Tovar wrote in the petition that students were concerned about tuition costs remaining the same, despite their education being drastically different.
“We are in no way blaming Cal State University, Fullerton for the pandemic; however, we would like to ask if the University can waive some of the campus-based fees and lower the tuition cost,” the petition description reads. “We are not using all of the resources that we are paying for in our tuition. Therefore, it would only be fair to have us pay for the resources that we are actually using.”
Michael Uhlenkamp, the senior director of public affairs, said on behalf of the California State Universities that virtual instruction is actually more expensive than in-person classes. Tuition revenue will go to training faculty and staff to adapt to a virtual environment, updating curriculum, converting materials to digital formats and investing in additional necessary hardware and software.
“Tuition revenue is absolutely critical to this semester and any other semester,” Uhlenkamp said. “The state has already passed a budget that reduces funding to the CSU by $300 million. Further reductions in revenue could result in drastic changes to programmatic offerings.”
President Fram Virjee has not yet responded to a request to comment on the petition.
The petition description also includes a breakdown of the fees for the fall 2020 semester, which includes the tuition fee of $2,871 and the on-campus fees of $605.12. It also breaks down each fee that accumulates the total amount, from the Student Success Fee of $201.34 to the Health Facilities Fee of $3.33.
“I signed the petition because I know that the amount of fees that were charged could literally be the difference between someone having rent and not having rent,” said Alex Corey, a fourth-year theatre student at CSUF. “I also know that a lot of the fees that were charged are for services that a lot of students, if not all students, aren’t going to use.”
Corey said he was not surprised that the petition has many signatures. When he first saw the petition he said he was hopeful that the university would make a decision on adjusting costs, but was sad to know they have not.
“I know that they need to make money and that they need to recoup their losses, but at the same time they need to put their students first, especially since, ultimately, we are the ones that are going to be having this college experience,” Corey said. “I like to think that part of the college experience isn’t getting gauged out of your money.”
“I was surprised that this petition existed in the first place because I would have never thought that people would actually band together to try to lower the tuition,” said Coby Sobrepena, an incoming freshman at CSUF. “I think it’s good people are voicing their opinions on what’s happening at the school.”
Sobrepena said his parents are frustrated with having to pay the full tuition despite him being unable to access everything they’re paying for.
Daniel Ramirez, a CSUF sophomore majoring in human resource management, said he had already attended CSUF virtually before the pandemic, so his education did not change. However, he still sympathized with those who had to transition to online learning.
Ramirez said he did not sign the petition because he felt it ultimately would not impact tuition costs.
“I just don’t feel like it will make a difference to be honest, because they’re not going to look at that and say, ‘Oh, let’s lose money because they are signing a petition,’” Ramirez said.