Thursday, January 11, 2007

Proposed Fee Increase = Education Tax


January 10, 2007
Media Contact: Jeremy Mills
Mobile Phone: (760) 880-4397


Schwarzennegger Turns His Back on Students and Families
Proposed Fee Increase is a Education Tax on the Middle Class

"I'm deeply disappointed that the governor has turned his back on students and their families," said Nadir Vissanjy, Chair of the California State Student Association (CSSA) and a senior at Sonoma State University, in response to the Governor's Budget Proposal for 2007-2008. State support for higher education has slipped from 17% of the state general fund in 1976 to 10.4% in the proposed 2007.

While state funding has decreased overtime, fees are set to rise next year. "The governor says he opposes tax increases, but this proposed fee increase is nothing more then a $97.8 million regressive education tax on middle class students and families," concluded Vissanjy, "By taxing the California Dream, the governor is putting educational opportunity further out of reach."

Last year, Governor Schwarzenegger stopped fee increases at both the California State University and the University of California. State University Fees will have increased by over 90% in the last five years, far out pacing increases in per capita personal income growth in California. At that time, the governor recognized that student fees squeezed middle class families that didn't qualify for aid, but could not afford to pay for college outright. This year the governor turned his back on students and families by raising fees to free up general fund money for other priorities.

"Students like me are paying a greater share of college costs and going into greater debt to do it," said Jeremy Mills, Chair of the CSSA Legislative Affairs Committee and a senior at CSU San Marcos. CSU students often balance work and family obligations. In fact, 30% of CSU students work 30 hours a week or more, and 25% have dependents that rely on them. As fees go up, so does borrowing, especially amongst the middle class students.

The state legislature could vote this spring to 'buy out' the student fee increase. "This is only the beginning," continues Mills, "In the coming months CSSA will be working with student leaders on each CSU campus to educate them about the proposed budget, and empower them to hold elected officials accountable for keeping the promise of the Master Plan for Education."

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