Dozens of students rallied outside the California State University chancellor's office in Long Beach Thursday to protest so-called student success fees, a surcharge some argue is a financial burden.
The campus-based mandatory fees range from about $100 to $800 per year and are required to enroll or attend a CSU. They're in place at 12 of the 23 campuses, some of which have had the fees in place since 2008.
Donning clown noses and bright clothing, angry students accused the administration of "acting like a circus" and making students feel like fools.
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"The funds aren't being used to help us. They're hindering us, making us take out more student loans, and put on more work hours, and making us have a longer time at the university," Cal State Long Beach student Courtney Yamagiwa said. "And they're using it as a loophole for the four-year tuition freeze...I believe it is very unfair."
While some feel the fees are putting a strain on college students' wallets, supporters of the fees say they improve university life by helping add faculty and classes.
"(The fees have) had an immediate impact on our student body," said Harpreet Singh Bath, Cal State Fullerton student body president. "We're increasing over 30 different sections of classes in the next semester, so there are 30 different classes that'll be offered to students toward graduation, toward reaching their goal of attaining a degree.
"We've also increased and revamped our student advising to make sure that students don't fall into the pitfalls that force them to stay longer than four or five years, whichever their intended goal of graduation is."
Thursday's CSU Board of Trustees meeting was informational. Some recommendations moving forward include deciding whether to keep the current plan in place and if the university chain should require a student vote is any CSU campus wants to implement the fees in the future.
The board will resume talks on the issue in January.