EDITOR: Sonoma State University is considering an additional student fee of $500 per year, after a $300 increase last year ("SSU weighs fee boost," Feb. 5).
On behalf of eight other retired faculty members, we want to express our opposition to any increase in fees at this time, regardless of whether it is imposed or approved by a staged plebiscite.
In today's economy, a college degree is essential to success. Given the benefits for the individual and society, a college education should be accessible and affordable for all qualified residents of California.
The escalating costs of higher education have already discouraged students from attending college and many recent graduates have been saddled for life with large debts from student loans. The average debt of recent SSU graduates is more than $21,000, the second highest in the California State University system.
Since SSU is already the third-most expensive institution in the CSU system, an additional fee of $500, which will not be covered by financial aid, would place a substantial burden on SSU students and their families.
Since other CSU campuses have met this challenge without raising fees, we suggest that SSU adopt administrative reforms and cuts and tap other resources to guarantee access to classes and timely graduation.
and DAN MARKWYN