The newest Band-Aid plan for the budget is to create an optional
fixed tuition rate. Under this plan a university could choose to
enter into contracts with its students in which the students would
pay one set tuition rate for their four years there, regardless of
how much incoming students might be paying.
The main problem with this plan is it creates a loser no matter
who wins. Let’s look at two scenarios: First, say “Jane” comes to
CSU her freshman year and chooses to enter into this fixed tuition
rate at $3,000 when the regular tuition rate for an entering
student not joining the fixed tuition plan is $2,500. Best case
scenario for the university is that tuition doesn’t increase, or
increases slowly, never reaching $3,000, or at least not until Jane
is a senior. That way, the university gets more money from her to
offer more classes and better programs. But that’s not so good for
Jane. The second scenario, using Jane again, is that Jane enters
into the aforementioned fixed rate contract and next year tuition
skyrockets to $3,500. Great for Jane, who’s paying $500 less than
cohorts below her, but not so good for the university, which gets
less than it otherwise would from Jane.
If the legislation makes the program totally optional for
everyone including the universities (which is not clear), we’re not
opposed to the legislation per se. But we just don’t see how it’s
the best choice for CSU or CSU’s students.