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Students Protest College Fee Increases

Students at California’s public universities are mobilizing to protest probable 10-to-15 percent fee increases prompted by state budget cuts.

Trustees of California State University and the Regents of the University of California are preparing for votes tomorrow on whether to boost student fees. Increases could go into effect as soon as the winter and spring terms. The state is facing an overall revenue shortage that could reach $30 billion for a two-year period. Under budget cuts already proposed by Governor Gray Davis the two university systems with nearly 600,000 students would have budget cuts totaling about $134 million.

California State Universities Chancellor Charles Reed said of the fiscal crunch: “It´s a catastrophe, a real train wreck. When you put into perspective the state budget crisis and how we are going to get through it, its going to take tough decisions in tough times.”

Reed has proposed raising fees by ten percent for undergraduate students and 15 percent for graduate students. That would be an additional $72 per semester for undergraduates and $114 for graduate students.

University of California President Richard C. Atkinson has proposed a $135 fee boost for all students effective in the spring quarter.

The state’s community colleges also were considering possible fee increases to cover the governor’s proposed $200 million in state support over the next 18 months.