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November 20th, 2009
09:10 AM ET

California Tuition Protest

The University of California Board of Regents has approved a 32 percent increase for students attending the state's premier public schools.

The move prompted a protest by hundreds of students at two of the University's campuses. Dozens were arrested at UC-Davis.

But students in California aren't the only ones feeling the pain of rising college costs.

Are you or someone you know affected by increasing tuition fees?

Post your comments here, and Don will read some of them in the Newsroom, from 9-11am ET.

Filed under: Don Lemon • Heidi Collins
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Rory Welper

    From a Minnesota and Wisconsin viewpoint, I would trade my public university tuition expenses of my daughters with those of California in a heartbeat! We are paying approximately $14,000 per year!! Get real California.

    November 20, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  2. Kelly

    Its truley sad that it has become so expensive to go to college. I began college in the fall of 2003 and graduated with my bachelor's degree in December of 2007. My tuition increased 25% every year. That's rediculous!

    November 20, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  3. Julian D. Jackson

    This is a sad thing to look at because tuition is already high. Many friends I know are affected by the high cost of tuition and were forced literally to go back home.

    November 20, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  4. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    This is the worst possible thing that can happen during a national tragedy. right now we need educated people to pull us out of this mess that the other idiots put us into its the same idiots that are raising tuition.the futhure of this country depends on new educated minds because the old minds are putting the screws to us.

    November 20, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  5. sam

    the federal government should investigate in the operations of some of these universities because the tuitions increase is becoming a ritual every semester.

    Georgia State University students saw an increase by the board of regents last two semester and yesterday we received an email for additional increase in " supplemental instructional fees (SIF).

    officials should look into this because these increases in getting out of hand.

    November 20, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  6. Cody

    2,500 seems rather steep. I realize costs do rise, which is unfair, but its one thing that has remained consistent in our society. Just becThey beause California is in a absolute state of emergency and will never get out of debt, does not mean that they can make educations unafforable. California should consider taxing pot to get out of the utter financial quagmire that it is in. I know some people will throw a temper tantrum over the idea, but everyone smokes pot in California anyways. They dont go to jail or prison because they are so overcrowded. A little bit of weed is the least of their worries. Tax it. Smoke it. And get out of debt. Leave our college tutiton alone.

    November 20, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  7. Chris Soto

    I attend Samford University in Birmingham, AL a private school, our tuition is over $25,000. College education is a privilege not a right. I support the debate, but not the violence, and please don't cry out to President Obama, yes, I know you guys think he was going to safe you guys, but guess what his not. Welcome to the real world! Samford had to cut back too, I'm sure you guys need to suck it up and pay it or leave.

    November 20, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  8. Robert Bigler

    The state of Ca is broke. The state is paying so much taking care of illegal immigrants as subsidies, health care, delieveries there is little money left for other expenses. Less money to supplement college costs.

    November 20, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  9. marie

    I can't believe the price of an education is so high. I'm a high school senior who's lost both of my parents and my dream has always been to go to college but I don't know how I'm supposed to afford it now with tuition being so high. Not to mention the fact that its going to be even higher by 2010

    November 20, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  10. Delenor

    My first two years of college tution cost was 20 grand from states schools in Virginia. They are puttings a increasing price of education that everyone should have and making it more diffcult to get your degree. Going to college is already hard as it is now.

    November 20, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  11. Vic Mendez

    Maybe some of us wouldn't be on an 8 year college plan at the community college level if we could afford to attend. The sad part is that middle class students like myself don't qualify for financial aid such as scholarships, or grants because my family and I make more than 15k a year.I only qualify for student loans which who knows when I'll pay those off. It's unfair. The college I currently attend says "finish what you start." I say "lower tuition costs and I'll finish what I started." Many successful people haven't even finished college – at this point why should I? So the college can take my money?

    November 20, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  12. Anthony Gomes

    While tuition costs are alarming, it is the methods of dispersing financial aid that is the most disturbing. As a veteran that decided to go back to school on the GI BIll, I rely on financial aid to cover the costs the GI Bill isn't enough cover.

    After learning that a scholarship I was informed I was awarded in the beginning of the semester had been taken away from me in the mid way through the semester, I inquired into the reasoning. I learned that the school had been including my GI Bill funds as financial aid, which caused my federal financial aid to be decreased. This is disturbing because not only did I pay into the GI BIll during my military service, but I earned every penny while fighting in Iraq. So the GI BIll is not financial aid, it is funds that I paid to receive, and earned through my war time services.

    When I continued to follow up with the school informing them of the disappointment in their practices they reapplied my scholarship, but it concerned me that many Veterans may not be as thorough, and are being denied the federal financial aid that they deserve.

    I would appreciate it if CNN looked further into these practices, and shed light on these misguided guidelines. Thank you.

    November 20, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  13. Adam

    I am glad that someone is speaking up about this issue and I agree that it is a problem. In my opinion, I can't understand why this country can't make it easier for low income students to attend a four year college and gain the valuable knowledge this country needs. If you want a stable country you have to open the floodgates by giving the poor and middle class a chance to solve the complicated problems in this country. Just like everyone should have access to medicare and a healthy body without going broke, the same should be applied to gaining knowledge and having a healthy mind in this complex modern world.

    November 20, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  14. David

    With rising tuition and rising unemployment, many more students that are qualified to go to good private or state institutions are actually considering going to community colleges and pursuing 2-year degrees just to be able to get something and get out there. There is a real problem when you are graduating and have to compete with people who already have years of experience and are taking pay cuts. As students, we pay more and can expect less on our returns in this economic climate, but as for me, I am considering staying in school longer to diversify my skill set in order to be able to better navigate this economy.

    November 20, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  15. Yoshi

    Higher fees for education? I don’t believe that education should be free. But, it shouldn’t be so expensive either. I think the government should appoint someone to oversee the management of funds given to both public and private colleges/universities. I know firsthand of colleges miss-managing funds ( gov. grants and loans), and then charging students for tuition balances. Then, when they are asked to verify the charges they’re unable to do so (ig. Everest University Online). Law suit? Who knows; Lol!

    November 20, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  16. John Doe

    I pay nearly $50,000 dollars for just one year at my BU and we have crappy weather. California has low college tuition and good weather. What more do you want?

    November 20, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  17. Carolyn Cox

    The scariest part of this story is an ENGLISH major saying "me and my family can't afford the tuition". YIKES!

    November 20, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  18. DEE in PA

    Count your blessings California!!! I'd gladly pay 10k instead of the going rate in PA of nearly 50K , for a non-Ivy league education.

    November 20, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  19. FL student

    what are these students whining about? They have some of the lowest tuition rates in the country. They want everything for nothing. Is this the way they intend to live their lives? Get real!!! Maybe if California would stop subsidizing the education of illegal aliens, then maybe the tuition rates will come back down. Let the legal immigrants chase the American dream, but stop giving away educaton funds for people who are not paying taxes to contribute to state coffers. It just makes sense to cut away parts that are not contributing to an organization. I know this is not politically correct, but it is a fact of life. Make the changes to the student eligibility or accept the increases, bite the bullet and get on with your education.

    November 20, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  20. Lee Ann

    I am a California resident and the impact of education on students in our state is huge.
    Women have been encouraged to reenter the education system. While my son was finishing up his education, I focused on a dream to complete my education. I worked full time, took out mega loans, pulled from my retirement, gave a six year commitment toward my BA degree and a plan to graduate in 2010. ( community college- securing scholarships to a private college) Unfortunately,. I was forced to leave my educational dreams behind in my senior year due to the rising costs of education.
    Our country is far behind other countries in terms of educating our young and those who strive to set goals.
    Our country should not divide our theories by state, weather or price...the question is "why is education not available in our country to those who aspire to acheive dreams?"

    November 20, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  21. Douglas Price

    I am a 3rd year student at UC San Diego and a low income student. I cannot afford a fee increase, so if I have to take out more student loans I will because my education means that much to me. As much as I do not like the fee increase, I know there is no other choice. The state is broke and its government is broken. Both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for getting us into this mess. It shuold be we Californians that take back our state government and fix this mess.
    We need to call a constitutional convention in California if we are ever going to get things back on track.

    November 20, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  22. Tanida

    Community college has always been an effective and affordable means of building an educational foundation. When I first attended college, it was a stepping stone and more cost effective means prior to transferring to a university to earn a Bachelor's, but I still found myself working and dependent on financial aid in order to pay for my Bachelors. With a weakened economy as an impetus, this year I again find myself back in community college to navigate a new career path and again I find myself deferring a transfer to a university due to the astronomical cost of education. An education is key to opening doors of opportunity, but if you cannot afford the key you will find yourself standing at the gates.

    November 20, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  23. Molly Ferrari

    I think the UC students should get over it. They are already getting a cheap education, and a few thousand extra bucks is worth an education. If they really care about their education THAT MUCH, they would be willing to continue to pay for it with a few thousand dollar increase.
    I go to a private Christian college in which i pay almost $44,000 a year, and my tuition is probably going to increase by $5,000 next year...and I'm not gonna complain about it. I cannot afford to pay $49,000 for school, but there are all kinds of loans, grants, and just gotta find the right ones. So, I think UC students should quit complaining about their cheap education...

    November 20, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  24. dryeti

    Society would profit if our children had a good education without being in dept and facing bankruptcy. No more tuition fees!

    November 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  25. Samantha Jones

    in regards to comments made stating that Californians should get real about our dissatisfaction with tuition increases, I attend the University of California, the best public university in the nation, and we students have worked our entire adolescent lives to get into a school where we can obtain a great education that we can afford to pay for. we came into this university expecting 6-7% increases in tuition every year. a 32% in state tuition increase is outrageous and could very well deny accesability to higher education to many Californians. the seal of the University of California states, "Let there be light," yet it seems as though these fee increases will dim the light that is provided by a public education. we have a right to be angry. what will happen to our state? how will our situation improve, when we can no longer afford to educate ourselves? who will run our government then? will we continue importing foreign celebrities to head our state?

    November 20, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  26. Lindsay Goldner

    So first off, I have to agree with pretty much everything Sam said, as well as the questions she posed.

    Secondly, the University of California system was founded in order to provide FREE public (aka tax-supported) higher education. There are plenty of private schools in California as well, but the point of the UC system was to make higher education more accessible to tax-paying residents of the state. So yes, with our fee increases bringing our tuition closer and closer to the price of private schools, we do see it as being problematic. When you tout a system as a public school system, it should be available to the PUBLIC. Unfortunately, 32% fee increases are making that less and less likely.

    Finally, though, I think we as students should be protesting more the state government, who has halved the amount of per student spending in the past decade and who, due to complete ineptitude on the part of our "governator" has absolutely screwed the entire state's economy. This failure to run our government has a direct impact on the financial state of the UC's... so we should be protesting them, instead of the regents who are just stuck trying to fix a broken system with decreasing funds!

    November 20, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  27. Lindsay St. Clair

    The price that the students are paying in CA compared to other universities is irrelevant, so people need to stop comparing it to the prices that they pay at private universities or different state schools. If you can afford what you pay at your university, then congratulations. If you, like many students including myself, are swimming in debt, then you should understand how outrageous the situation is. There need to be options for affordable yet prestigious college education. Higher education is not necessarily a right, but if it's only going to be affordable for the wealthy then our economic issues are never going to get resolved. College students should not have to pay to fix government spending issues.

    November 20, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  28. mike

    tell these kids, that if they serve their country, give back alittle, the military will make sure they bget an education

    November 20, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  29. alice 27

    Since the federal government is responsible for where our taxes go blame them. If we did not have so much corporate welfare, uncontrolled immigration, graft in our medical programs, etc., there would be money for education. How can we say education is SO IMPORTANT for our nation's future and not see that qualified students have access to higher education whether they can pay or not? Let's clear our jails of minor drug offenders and replace them with the white collar criminals who are stealing us blind. In fact, some of our legal procedures should be changed. There is too much time between the verdict and the punishment. The criminals are guaranteed a speedy trial but the citizens are not guaranteed speedy justice. We are wasting our money. Hopefully, Pres. Obama will make changes soon.

    November 20, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  30. Tom Richards

    So this is it, a real opportunity for a meaningful protest. Its time for every student to stand together, no student should return to school until this decision is reversed. No arrests, no protests, no hassle. Its time for the students to use their power and to lead this country in the most effective tea party possible. Send the message starting this Monday NOBODY should go to class until the media creates a firestorm for the regents.

    November 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  31. Andrew

    Don't forget about Georgia. Georgia Board of Regents just stuck the students with another supplemental fee increase, on top of the one for this fall and last spring, the original of which was supposed to be "temporary." It's hard enough already to go to school full time, work, pay rent and buy groceries.

    How much does the Board of Regents get paid??????

    November 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  32. Ayla N

    The University of California is the best public university system in the country, if not the world. These aren't just schools... they are sophisticated research institutions that benefit the entire nation as a whole.

    I can't even count how many Nobel Laureates work and have worked as UC staff. Without money, the UC's cannot attract this caliber of professors.

    California's education system is overstretched... CUT THE CAL STATES, NOT THE UC'S!!!

    November 20, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  33. David

    Why are they hiking up tuition? Aren't stimulus monies available to be pumped into CA colleges? Can the board of regents put projects on hold? Use teleconferencing to save money? Some questions.

    It is worrying as these centers of higher learning are also in the business of making people's dreams come true.

    November 21, 2009 at 2:06 am |
  34. Don

    Wake up students! When the unemployment is 10% in America,layoffs and foreclosures are at a record pace, and people can't afford to feed themselves or their families, do you think you will get any sympathy because you cannot afford to go to college?Wake up. Your future jobs will be filled be immigrants who will and can afford to go to school in America, and who are willing to work and make sacrifices to stay here and do what it takes. Not cry and complain about the system and expect someone or some politician to fix it for you.If you don't like where you are, go somewhere else.

    November 21, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  35. Dan

    This protest shows one thing: It is time for states to reinvest in higher education. It is the only way they can maintain an educated workforce, and it is the number one tool that will ensure that the economic recovery speeds up as workers and students alike adjust their plans for the fields that are hiring.

    It is unacceptable for funds to come more from private sources than public if a school is in a state system. This is a nation wide problem, and it is time for students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, administration, regents, and trustees alike to stand up and say enough is enough. Students are not an alternative revenue source. We are not attending school to ease the burden of the state, but to better our state's economy and give back to the place where we grew up. We cannot sit down and take this anymore.

    November 21, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  36. Darlene Anthony

    Don not only are the Universities increasing their tuition's and fees but the Community Colleges as well. An employee of one particular Community College tell us the staff is overwhelm by the increase in enrollment by the unemployed – more students than Instructors.
    My thoughts on the economy !

    “Almost a year into Obama term and the country is feeling how Bush has put American in a depressive economy like pulling the thread out of the American flag one seam at a time! How un-American of Bush and Congress to have done this to us. Financial analysts predict unemployment will continue to rise to 25% by this time next year! (to include the underemployed in that figure)

    We're ten trillion more in debt since last year since the government absorbed some of the sub prime lending real estate debacle, bank and auto bailouts, not to forget the stimulus, plus two wars. The sad part is as big a heart Obama has to try to turn the economy in a upward spiral I don't believe he and his administration really know what to do. This problem maybe more than Obama could have imagine it would be. And Congress is not being cooperative with the President.

    November 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  37. Deidra Cheek

    For many years, the health insurance companies have rationed their coverage. What's new? In all of this, it would solve so much if care for dependents did not cut off at 23 years. It puts a terrible burden on parents to pay tuition, fees, plus books.... and health insurance on top of this! We pay monthly for our child, who is still in college, but because of a limit on what we could afford to pay, it leaves us with a $1,600 deductable (which is virtually no insurance at all). One trip to the doctor, where an ultrasound was ordered, will cost us $800k because our child's policy covers only 30% until she reaches the deductible. It is November. She will never reach the deductible. We cannot afford almost $500 per month for a reasonable deductable for her.

    November 21, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  38. Stephen Rosen

    California officials allow illegal aliens to attend public colleges at in state rates. This, in effect, makes those lawfully here (citizens and residents) subidize those illagally here to help make up the severe budget deficit.
    This is both wrong and immoral and shows the malfeasance of California officials.

    November 21, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  39. David

    It does seem rough on students to increase tuition 585 bucks in between semesters, hopefully the financial aid increase helps. Even so, they've got they're backs against the wall because then they are looking ahead to a 1000 plus tuition increase in the coming year.

    It's hard to look at this situation because we've been seeing the fluctuations of the economy and can't help but see how it is impacting this public university system. It would be nice to see employment on the upswing, hopefully it doesn't lag too far behind growth in the GDP.

    Maybe relaxing a bit will open some possibilities. As I understand, only about a third of the stimulus is disbursed. Would stimulus monies help? Can they apply for it? Would stimulus bolster the state's budget so that funds become available to stem a tuition increase?

    November 22, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  40. Debberee Haughton


    Im a jamaican who happens to be watching your program. As it relates to a program to help control obesity which is a problem on everyones shoulder. It is very important for all stakeholders to take the initiative in helping to control some of these deadly illnesses that are as a result of unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise. These measures of control has to start within the home, schools, health centres, and all organization and should be supported by all. It doesn't matter the purpose or time one become a part of these environment.


    November 23, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  41. Catherine Berryhill

    People should have the right to voice their opinions. I am sure the police has better things to do. Laws should be changed.

    November 23, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  42. Cheryl

    Wow, I cannot believe this one. It is NOT acceptable for the school to mandate this for many reasons. 1) Some races or cultures have a different body mass index by nature. 2) This was not requirement BEFORE they went to the school but instead they sneak one more thing in as a barrier to success. 3) I could see if they wanted to mitigate the increase cost risk of their student health insurance but this is not the case. 4) Why do I smell discrimination here? Being underweight is just as unhealthy.

    This is just wrong and needs to be smashed before it starts a trend. Whats next?

    November 23, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  43. carolyn tanner

    its not fair ,your their to receive an education ,not to be judged by your weight.since thats the case why dont they have a program for anorexia,saying youre to skinny to get youre diploma simply ridiculus

    November 23, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  44. drumson

    i think this spike in violence against police is a direct result of their behavior and abuse of the poor community and the perception that police are above the law ,the hoplessness that most poor americans feel when theyve been wronged or even killed by the police ,poor americans can not afford justice . and the police know i beleive taking law in their own hands is going to become more and more common as the economic situation gets worse .many police in the ghetto are viewed as terrorist plain and simple.

    November 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm |