Trustees of the nation’s largest four-year college system voted Thursday to raise fees for the fifth straight year despite strenuous objections from students who said the state is abandoning its historic commitment to higher education. The California State University system increase, which is 8 percent for undergraduates and 10 percent for graduate students, is part of a previously negotiated long-term pact between CSU and the Legislature. The University of California also is part of the agreement, with the systems promising to make cuts and raise fees to provide stability and accommodate modest enrollment growth. CSU’s budget request for 2006-07 is $2.7 billion, which includes enough money to enroll 10,000 additional students. Cal State trustees, who approved the hike by voice vote – the student trustee voted no – said they don’t like raising fees but don’t have much choice given the state’s fiscal crisis. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “We want the degree that you’re working so hard and probably going into debt for to be worth something,” said trustee Bob Foster. “You have to preserve quality as well as access.” Before the vote, students, some near tears, asked trustees not to raise fees, saying they are stretched too thin. “We can’t afford this. We can’t take another hit,” said Carol Peters, a student at San Diego State University, one of more than 100 students who attended the meeting. Under the state’s 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education, CSU, designed to serve the top one-third of high school graduates, and UC, which selects from the top 12.5 percent of high schoolers, are supposed to be tuition-free for in-state students. California residents still don’t pay tuition, but once-incidental system and campus fees have increased substantially. With the new hikes, CSU will be charging $2,724 in systemwide fees per year for undergraduates in 2006, about 90 percent more than students paid in 2001. Students also pay campus fees, which this year averaged $644 a year. Fees at UC also have risen sharply, now nearing $7,000 a year for undergraduates, including campus fees. As at CSU, fees are scheduled to go up another 8 percent for undergraduates next year. CSU officials noted that one-third of the new fee hike money will go into financial aid. They also point out that CSU costs are still well below comparable institutions. CSU has about 400,000 students at 23 campuses and student organizers said representatives from all campuses were at Thursday’s meeting, including 50 in an overflow room, to protest the fee increase. Also Thursday, trustees approved a five-year executive compensation plan that included substantial pay increases for campus leaders. System administrators say a study showed that CSU executive pay lagged the market by nearly 50 percent. Meanwhile, officials say, faculty pay is about 13 percent behind the market. The board approved raising executive salaries by 13.7 percent and faculty salaries by 3.5 percent; officials said the percentages correspond to the 50 percent and 13 percent lags. With the increases, which are retroactive to July, salaries for executives range from about $220,000 for the presidents of the Monterey Bay and Maritime Academy campuses to $287,000 for the president of CSU San Luis Obispo. Pay for the system’s chancellor will rise from $316,692 to $362,500, with $30,000 coming from private support. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!