The Rising Cost of College: Student Fees

Students, parents, and lawmakers often express concern about tuition increases at California’s public universities. But tuition is not the only college cost that has been rising. Students also pay fees that cover many non-instructional costs, and between 2013 and 2016, student fees increased an average of 21% at both the UC and CSU systems, even as tuition itself stayed flat.

UC charges a systemwide fee ($1,228 for 2017‒18) to cover student affairs operations, and UC campuses can assess their own fees. CSU does not assess a systemwide fee; instead, the Chancellor’s Office allows campuses to decide how much to charge for each of seven fee categories, ranging from health services and facilities to instructionally related activities to the student association. When students vote to approve referenda, they are agreeing to implement fees for new or expanded services.

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