Cal Poly students vote for $780 fee increase

Cal Poly students voted Wednesday in favor of a proposal to increase their fees by $780 per year by 2014.

The proposal by the university’s administration to help pay for more class and laboratory offerings as well as enrichment programs was put to an advisory vote.

Fifty-seven percent of ballots cast were in favor of the proposal. In all, 7,622 votes were cast.

Cal Poly officials cite a decline in state funding, which now represents about 40 percent of Cal Poly’s operating budget compared with 90 percent a decade ago.

The projected revenue, if the fees are approved by CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, would be about $14 million per year when fully implemented.

Students would pay about $480 per year, when the fee takes effect in 2012, with a gradual increase until fall 2014.

Depending on a student’s major, undergraduate tuition now is about $8,000 annually. That number could jump to about $9,500 per year by 2014, excluding possible new CSU-wide increases in 2013 and 2014.

Critics of the possible fee increase said the suggested use of the funds is too vague while advocates said the charges cover costs the state won’t support.

The students’ vote is meant to be advisory. The final decision will be made by the chancellor only if Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong submits the proposal for Reed’s official consideration.