Class-Action Lawsuit Challenging 2009 CSU Tuition Hike Favors University System

A San Francisco Superior Court jury voted 9-3 Friday in favor of the California State University system, headquartered in Long Beach, rejecting a class-action lawsuit that challenged the validity of the CSU Board of Trustees’ May 2009 vote to raise tuition by 10 percent due to lack of state funding.

The CSU state-wide system was found to have acted properly when it hiked tuition, despite claims by students that they were unfairly double-billed, the jury ruled.

“Today’s verdict affirms the California State University’s commitment to student success and the fiscal stability of the university for future generations of Californians,” said Framroze Virjee, CSU executive vice chancellor and general counsel, in a statement.

He said that raising tuition fees is always a last resort decision and CSU did so responsibly to preserve academic programs and minimize disruption to students completing their degrees.

“With the state’s reinvestment in the university, tuition fees have remained stable for the past four years,” he said. “The CSU continues to offer one of the most affordable quality undergraduate degree programs in the nation.”

Five students sued the CSU on behalf of about 200,000 students, contending the fall 2009 tuition hike was illegal because they already paid their tuition for that semester. The Board of Trustees voted May 13, 2009 to boost tuition by 10 percent because CSU officials said the system was facing “an unprecedented and devastating financial crisis” at the time. The school had seen back-to-back cuts in state funding.

Attorneys for CSU argued that students were repeatedly warned tuition and fees can change at any time.

City News Service contributed to this report.



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