The California State University Chancellor’s Office gave final approval last week to the proposed Student Success Fee for Cal Poly Pomona. Taking effect Fall Quarter 2013, the fee will provide financial support to areas of the campus that have a significant impact on student retention and graduation. It will serve to restore services and programs that were reduced or cut during the ongoing budget crisis. It also will create additional funding for new programs and improve information technology services to help students.
“With the extreme budget challenges the university has faced, the Student Success Fee is critical for us to maintain, and in some cases expand, those services we know enhance student persistence and graduation rates,” says University President J. Michael Ortiz. “Each student should easily find multiple areas where the fee will improve their overall campus experience.”
All registered students at Cal Poly Pomona will begin paying the Student Success Fee each term. The fee will provide additional course sections, increase tutorial services and library hours, enhance wireless and technology support, and provide additional funding opportunities for student clubs and activities.
A detailed list of the areas funded by the Student Success Fee can be found on the website. It includes plans to
- Update equipment in classrooms and computer labs
- Expand library hours on evenings and weekends and research desk services on weekends
- Increase hours of free Learning Resource Center tutoring
- Expand academic advising services in colleges
- Expand and improve the quality of the university’s Wi-Fi network
- Expand IT student help desk on evenings and weekends
- Expand funding support to student clubs, organizations, and activities
- Increase diversity programs and support services for veterans
- Create a multi-purpose student project lab building and additional space for hands-on student projects like the Rose Float.
The Student Success Fee was recommended to the CSU Chancellor’s Office for approval at the conclusion of an extensive consultation process with students from Oct. 16 through Nov. 2, 2012. In total, 40 presentations were made to a wide array of students groups, including four open forums that all students were invited to attend. 1,385 students participated in the consultation process by attending a student-led presentation and completing a questionnaire that included whether they were in support of the new fee. Results of the submitted questionnaires indicated that 71.2 percent of students who participated were in support of the Student Success Fee. The student-led Fee Advisory Committee voted unanimously to recommend the fee.
The Student Success Fee will be phased in over four years:
- $74 per quarter in 2013-14
- $102 per quarter in 2014-15
- $129 per quarter in 2015-16
- $138.25 per quarter in 2016-17
The fee will also be adjusted annually for inflation by using the Higher Education Price Index.
“It’s not easy for students to agree to impose an additional fee on themselves,” Ortiz says. “One of the benefits of the way the fee consultation was conducted was that a broad percentage of the campus population got a greater understanding of the financial challenges facing the university and how it directly impacts their lives.”
At the request of the Associated Students, Inc.’s leadership, the university president agreed to modify the initial proposal to allocate more Student Success Fee revenue towards adding sections to high-demand classes. He also agreed to expand student representation on committees overseeing how the funding is spent, as well as extending the implementation of the fee from three to four years.
For the 2012-13 academic year, Cal Poly Pomona has the third-lowest overall cost of attendance in the CSU system. Its current fees to support student success services and programs are currently at $45 per academic year, the second lowest in the system. The CSU average is $398 per academic year, with the highest fees at the CSU’s only other polytechnic university in San Luis Obispo at $1,822 per academic year. Based on average enrollment, this leaves Cal Poly Pomona with about $7 million less each year to serve students.
The Student Success Fee was proposed last year as the CSU system was facing the worst financial crisis in its history. Its budget deficit was $132 million, while Cal Poly Pomona was facing an annual deficit of $23.8 million and growing. Reserves were expected to be depleted within the next two years. The passage of Proposition 30 last November only staved off additional CSU cuts, including $12 million at Cal Poly Pomona.