Opinion: ‘Student success’ fee compromise shows CSUF willing to consider student opinions

A screenshot of CSUF's Student Success initiative website.
A screenshot of CSUF’s Student Success Initiative website.
  • CSUF handles fee backlash well, rightly wishes to improve its tech and classrooms

The California State University has hit some hard times in the past few years, and various “student success” fees are only the most recent band aids proposed to fix a gaping hole of inadequate funds.

But after several years of frustrating (2009 tuition hikes) and confusing (Prop 30) actions, the CSU and its universities have apparently wisened up to the fact that student input should be more prominent in a tuition debate that shows no signs of being resolved anytime soon.

Cal State Fullerton – to use my alma mater as an example – spent more than a month aggressively seeking student input over its proposed “Student Success Initiative” fee, first proposed as costing students $240 each per semester to improve the university’s technology and athletics infrastructure.

The university held several open forums (which at first attracted low attendances), but the fee was eventually able to enter the student discussion due to a flashy informational website created by the university; an aggressive social media campaign; student opposition through protests and signature-gathering; and coverage by the Daily Titan, the university’s student-run newspaper, and other media.

Still, this coverage may not have helped much: The Daily Titan reported that the Student Fee Advisory Committee’s survey for students to give their feedback only received a response by about 10 percent of the student population.

Yesterday, the Student Fee Advisory Committee voted to cut the fee from $240 to $181 per student, and that the fee will be phased out over the next three years, according to the Daily Titan.

Not only does the committee deserves commendation for listening to student response, but the university should be thanked as well for aggressively trying to attract clearly uninterested and uninformed students, even adding more community forums to spread the message.

The fact is that technology does need to be vastly improved. CSUF is doing fine tech-wise now with several top-of-the-line classrooms and program offerings, but to keep that up, money needs to be maintained – money that is hardly coming from the state, as a Los Angeles Times editorial notes.

This whole situation shows me that the university is looking out for student interests in two ways:

Mihaylo Hall
Mihaylo Hall at CSUF, one of the university’s premium offerings, which has improved the university’s image in recent years.

1. That the university desires to upgrade and maintain its technology, classroom and athletics infrastructure.

2. That the university is taking students’ opinions into consideration.

Both of these are a step in the right direction, so for the sake of the next generation of college students and the impact they will have locally and throughout the state, I say we continue this improvement.

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