Cal Poly students paid the highest campus fees among their peers within the California State University system this academic year, according to data from the CSU budget office.
For the 2017-18 school year, Cal Poly students paid $3,718 in campus-based fees, which help pay for a variety of on-campus services, from health and wellness programs to intercollegiate athletics to student government.
A complete breakdown of Cal Poly's fee descriptions can be viewed https://afd.calpoly.edu/fees/fee-descriptions.
No other campus in the 23-school CSU system requires students to pay more than $2,000 in campus fees, the data shows.
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Sonoma State ($1,982), San Jose State ($1,979) and CSU San Marcos ($1,911) are the next-closest on that list.
Meanwhile, students at Long Beach State ($988), CSU Los Angeles ($897) and Fresno State ($843) paid the lowest fees within the CSU system.
Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier said many of the university's programs are technical in nature, and that "hands-on learning is deeply ingrained" throughout the school's curriculum.
"In order to provide cutting-edge equipment and programming and fund faculty with up-to-date knowledge and experience to enhance the university's Learn by Doing education, Cal Poly has implemented additional student fees," Lazier said.
Lazier said Cal Poly students pay from $3,300 to $3,700 in students fees for the entire year, depending on their college and major.
About half that total is made up by two fees: the Campus Academic Fee ($1,169.70 per year) that was increased campus-wide in 2002, and the Student Success Fee ($832.77) that was created in 2012 — both following favorable advisory votes by students, Lazier said.
"These fees were designed expressly to fund equipment and facilities additions and upgrades, hiring of faculty and additional course offerings, with the aim of improving Learn by Doing, increasing students’ academic success, and speeding their progress toward graduation," Lazier said.
An article published March 14 by the Public Policy Institute of California said between 2013 and 2016, student fees increased an average of 21 percent in both the UC and CSU systems, even as tuition itself stayed flat.
In the UC system this year, student fees ranged from $1,759 at UCLA to $2,949 at UC Santa Barbara. Additionally, UC charges a system-wide fee ($1,288 for 2017-18) to cover student affairs operations.
Within the CSU, the Chancellor's Office allows campuses to decide how to much to charge for student fees, according to the PPIC.
That key difference has paved the way for Cal Poly to charge more than $2,100 every year since 2009.