11/14/2012 04:03 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

California Tuition Hikes Delayed Indefinitely

At Vallejo's California Maritime Academy, student Devon Coyl is relieved a decision about tuition increases have been put off indefinitely.

"I do not feel students should pay more," said Coyl, a senior in global studies and maritime affairs.

After generating considerable controversy, a proposal before the California State University trustees was withdrawn Tuesday.

Later in the day, the University of California governing board also heeded pleas from Gov. Jerry Brown to postpone any more tuition increases.

In an unusual appearance before the CSU trustees' meeting Tuesday, Brown said trustees must "get out of their comfort zone" and control expenses -- rather than continually raise fees which hurt low-income students the most.

The 23-campus CSU system had sought to free up 18,000 enrollment slots by hiking fees for "super seniors."

These are students who repeat courses, amass more credits than they need to graduate and, typically, take more than a full-time course load. About 71,000 students would have been affected.

Because of its specialized courses, Cal Maritime students would have been exempt, school officials said. Cal Maritime students, anyway, must amass a large number of hours to graduate and obtain U.S. Coast Guard licenses.

"Due to the unique nature of our campus and programs, we are exempt," Cal Maritime Director of Communications Jennifer Whitty said.

Even so, Coyl said students, overall, are frustrated by continuous tuition fee hikes over the last few years.

"If these fees are going to pass we want to make sure the fees go directly to each of the schools from which they were drawn and go back into student services," Coyl said.

Though the fees for "super seniors" have been postponed, CSU Chancellor's Office spokesman Erik Fallis said the issue has not been resolved.

The fees were designed not to raise funds but to free up course sections for students who can't get into the courses they need, he said.

Fees wouldn't have kicked in until students had amassed 160 units -- about 40 more than what is usually needed to graduate, he said.

Also Tuesday, the UC board of regents announced it was postponing, at Brown's request, a proposal to raise fees for several professional degree programs.

Brown questioned the timing of the proposed tuition increases. The proposals came close on the heels of voters passing his tax package on Nov. 6 which staved off massive funding cuts for both the CSU and UC systems.

"This is no time to be raising fees of any kind. Voters gave us billions in new revenue, now we have to use that very judiciously," Brown said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. Contact staff writer Sarah Rohrs at or (707) 553-6832. Follow her on Twitter @SarahVTH.


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