Cal State trustees approve new fee for student groups

Cal State trustees approve new fee for student groups
Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White is seen in January 2014. The university's board of trustees have approved a new, voluntary charge for student groups while placing a moratorium on other fees. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

While the Cal State Board of Trustees was placing controls on one set of fees Wednesday, the board also approved a new systemwide voluntary charge to support operations of the statewide student association.

The Student Involvement and Representation Fee would charge $2 per student, per semester.


But students will be able to opt out of paying the fee before they register.

The nonprofit association advocates on behalf of students in Sacramento and Washington. The group currently is funded by the chancellor's office and member fees are collected by individual campus student associations.

Some campus organizations opposed the new fee, arguing that there was too little information on how the revenues would be spent.

California State Student Assn. Chairman Devon Graves and others countered that the fee will provide a more steady source of funds and give the group greater autonomy.

"It's all about independence," he said. "We will be able to extend the student voice on every campus and systemwide."

The fee will take effect this fall.

In other action Wednesday, the board moved to place tighter controls on controversial student fees that have drawn criticism as a backdoor way to raise tuition.

The board voted unanimously, with one abstention, to require changes in how so-called student success fees are enacted, after students complained that they weren't consulted and lacked adequate information on how revenues were being used.

Although the new policy gives students more control, several who addressed the board at its meeting in Long Beach urged that all fees be repealed, chanting, "You promised us a freeze, so roll back the fees."

The charges have been enacted at a dozen of the system's 23 campuses and range from $162 to $830 when fully implemented. These charges come in addition to tuition, room and board.

Twitter: @carlariveralat