By Marcus Rodriguez
Tuition has increased this semester from $20 to $26 per unit for all California community colleges due to the state’s widening budget deficit.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the California budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year on July 28, which includes the addition of AB 2X — an education trailer bill designed to boost school revenues statewide.
“Well, the money had to come from somewhere,” said Pedro Alforque, 19, a political science major at City College.
According to the state’s budget report, the addition means fewer cuts would have to be made to the already depleted California community college system, which currently stands to loose about $580 million of its projected $5.5 billion budget for the 2009-2010 school year, totaling about 25 percent less than the previous year’s general fund budget of $6.7 billion.
“We had an approximately $19 million budget deficit to try to solve for the 2009-10 school year,” Goldstein said. “Because of this, we had to reduce the number of classes, make a general reduction to student services, and we had to make a dramatic reduction to the 2010 summer school schedule.”
Hiring and salary freezes also had to be implemented, according to Goldstein. “Without this tuition raise, the problem obviously would have been worse,” he added.
“I wasn’t so much surprised by the $6 increase in tuition as I was by my $400 bill for textbooks,” said Rolsin Isner, a 19-year-old biology major,
Students worried about the fee increase have some options. Low-income students who are California residents can still apply for the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver, which covers the entire cost of tuition for community colleges. In addition, the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the Tuition and Fees Deduction Credit are tax credits available to most low-income students with reimbursements during tax season.