What is the price of success? For Sonoma State University students, it might be $500 a year.
School administrators are considering imposing what they are calling an Academic Success fee on top of campus fees that are among the highest in the state university system.
Officials said the fee, which could be as much as $250 a semester, is needed to make up for a budget shortfall. Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposes an increase of $142 million for the 23-school system, but well below the $237 million the CSU board requested to meet enrollment demand.
Students say the fee is another burden at a time when rising expenses have made money tight.
At Sonoma State, the fee would be used to hire new teachers, increase classes that are highly in demand and help students graduate in four years, provost Andrew Rogerson said.
“It would be in response to the dip in state funding,” he said. “One hundred percent would be used for academics.”
Rogerson stressed that a decision has not yet been made on whether to impose the fee, and university officials are seeking student input on the proposal.
Students may have an opportunity to vote on the fee in a referendum, or the university could impose the fee unilaterally after consulting with student groups, Rogerson said.
The fee would take effect this fall.
Mac Hart, president of Associated Students at Sonoma State, said the student government body is doing its own outreach to gauge student opinion on the fee.
“We have yet to receive a detailed plan as to what the Academic Success fee will include. Such a plan is expected from the Provost's office in the next few weeks,” he said via email. “In the meantime we are conducting extensive outreach throughout campus to get input from students as to their perspective on the issue and if a fee is the type of solution they are interested in pursuing further.”
Sonoma State campus fees are currently $902 per semester, third-highest in the CSU system. Campus fees are in addition to the $2,736-per-semester systemwide tuition for full-time undergraduate students.